Scott Forbes – Twitter thread

The end of the COVID-19 crisis will come with the development of a vaccine. That vaccine will come out a university lab, or likely multiple labs as these projects are often collaborative.

A University of Manitoba lab is working on vaccine development. The development of anti-viral therapy will come out of a university lab, or multiple labs. A University of Manitoba lab is working on identifying virus vulnerabilities.

A University of Winnipeg cancer researcher is pivoting to explore common biochemical pathways of certain cancers and COVID-19, and the efficacy of off the shelf cancer drugs to treat the virus.

Our back to normal strategy will involve greatly increased testing: how will we expand our testing capacity? By turning to university labs where the equipment and expertise exists.

Until we have a vaccine or effective drug treatment we will rely upon public health agencies to design strategies: where are these people trained? When Dr. Roussin and Chief Nurse Siragusa present their press conferences, they bring 6 university degrees with them. All from the University of Manitoba.

Our front lines of health are staffed by nurses and doctors. Where are they trained? At Brandon University, the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba.

In the post-pandemic world there will be a call for an army of biotechnologists. Where will they be trained? At our universities.

In the face of a pandemic, we need people who can think critically, and not only solve problems, but identify the problems in the first place. We need people with effective communication skills.

Where are these people trained? In every department of every university: in arts, humanities, social sciences, and sciences. In law schools, medical schools and departments of engineering. In our universities.

Now please tell me why our provincial government doesn’t consider our universities an essential service. And why is cutting university budgets nearly a third a good idea?

Scott Forbes
Professor, Biology
President of the Manitoba Organization of Faculty Associations

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