In a statement made by Professors Jean-Paul Mira and Camille Locht on French TV channel LCI early this week, the medical practitioners said
the vaccine that could be effective in treating coronavirus should first be tested in Africa. This has sparked lots of reaction across the continent describing this as the most “absurd” thought vis a vis Africans.
In this light, Chelsea and Ivory Coast legend Didier Drogba has joined the likes of Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba in denouncing the remarks in a series of tweets calling African leaders to protect the continent’s image.
“It is inconceivable that we continue to accept this. Africa is not a laboratory,” the 42-year-old said.
“I strongly denounce these serious, racist and contemptuous remarks!
“Help us save lives in Africa and stop the spread of this virus which is destabilizing the whole world, instead of considering ourselves as guinea pigs.
“It’s absurd! African leaders have a responsibility to protect people from these heinous plots ”
The African population is joining their voices to these to denounce moves aimed at undermining the continents population. With less than 1000 cases of COVID-19 recorded, it is indeed absurd and racist for medical doctors out of the continent to think Africans are more suitable to test the vaccines instead of their own population.
“It may be provocative. Should we not do this study in Africa where there are no masks, no treatment or intensive care, a little bit like it’s been done for certain AIDS studies, where among prostitutes, we try things, because we know that they are highly exposed and don’t protect themselves?” said Jean-Paul Mira, head of the intensive care unit at the Cochin Hospital in Paris.
Camille Locht, research director at France’s national health institute, Inserm, agreed: “You are right. And by the way, we are thinking of in parallel about a study in Africa using this same approach.”
On Twitter, Inserm, Locht’s employer, posted a statement accompanied by the hashtag #FakeNews, writing that the remarks were taken out of context.
“A distorted video, taken from an interview on LCI with one of our researchers about a study on the potential use of the BCG vaccine against COVID-19, is now the subject of erroneous interpretation,” the statement said.
It added that Africa “shouldn’t be forgotten or excluded from this research because the pandemic is global”.
Mira later apologized in a statement published by his employer-“I want to present all my apologies to those who were hurt, shocked and felt insulted by the remarks that I clumsily expressed on LCI this week,” he said.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Mira further clarified: “Africa could be even more exposed to serious forms of harm because there will be so few masks and little confinement because of societal structure.”
“It seemed interesting to me that in addition to France and Australia, an African country could participate in this study which I had never heard of before hearing about it on the show,” he added.
Reactions continue to increase on the subject around the world stemming fear in many Africans abroad who feel they may be used.