Unic Press UK: World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has condemned a “racist” outburst by two French doctors who said Africa could serve as the testing ground for a COVID-19 vaccine.
“It was a disgrace, appalling, to hear during the 21st Century, to hear from scientists, that kind of remark. We condemn this in the strongest terms possible, and we assure you that this will not happen,” said Ghebreyesus, during a briefing of the WHO.
“Africa cannot & will not be the testing ground for any vaccine. The hungover from such colonial mentality has to stop” pic.twitter.com/uhLeSsR9m3
— Professor Senait Fisseha (@DrSenait) April 6, 2020
The doctors’ “racist” comments
Their racist suggestion happened during a programme on La Chaîne Info (LCI) a French free-to-air news channel. The Head of Intensive Care at Cochin Hospital in Paris, France, Jean-Paul Mira, in a response to a comment by the Head of Research at Inserm Health Research Group, Camille Locht, about a vaccine for trials in Australia/Europe said:
“If I can be provocative, shouldn’t we be doing this study in Africa, where there are no masks, no treatments, no resuscitation? A bit like it is done elsewhere for some studies on Aids. In prostitutes, we try things because we know that they are highly exposed and that they do not protect themselves.”
And, Locht, being receptive to Mira’s view, affirmed:
“You are right. We are in the process of thinking about a study in parallel in Africa.”