French doctors discuss testing COVID-19 vaccine in Africa

First human trial for vaccine against coronavirus begins in the US

Jean Paul Mira and Camille Locht, two French doctors, have sparked outrage after they were caught on television discussing “Africa as best destination to conduct test for COVID-19 vaccine”. 

In a viral video clip shared on social media on Thursday, the two medical experts cited the use of prostitutes in Africa to carry out test vaccine for the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) as instance. 

Mira, head of resuscitation department at Cochin Hospital, also pointed out that the continent should be considered because of its perceived toughness to disease outbreaks.

“If I can be provocative, shouldn’t we do this study in Africa, where there are no masks, no treatment, no resuscitation, a bit like it has been done in some studies in AIDS, where among prostitutes, we try things, because they are exposed, and they don’t protect themselves, what do you think?,” he asked.

Corroborating with him, Locht, a research director at Inserm, said similar approach could be adopted as ongoing search for COVID-19 vaccine intensifies across the globe.

“So you are right […] we’re thinking in parallel to a study in Africa precisely to make this same type of approach w/ BCG [vaccine] placebo, I think there is a call for tenders that was released or that will be released & I think we will indeed seriously think about that too,” he said.

Apparently cheesed off by their discussion, Rim-Sarah Alouane, a Ph.D student and French researcher, took to Twitter to describe the video as “horrific.”

The human rights researcher also said it is unfortunate that “France still thinks Africa should be seen as subjects for experimentation in 2020”.

“It’s 2020 in France &we still see people from Africa as subjects for experimentation. This is what normalized racism looks like,” she added.

“AFAIK, nobody jumped in to counter the arguments, both doctors agreed. Same, the way sex-workers are considered: like objects that can be used for tests.”

As of the time of filing this report, Alouane’s post has been retweeted nearly 10,000 times with the video garnering nearly 2.2 million views.

Samuel Eto, Cameroonian football legend, also expressed his anger on the microblogging platform.

“Assassins!,” Eto’o wrote.

https://twitter.com/setoo9/status/1245655021162659841?s=20

Here is what some Nigerians had to say:

https://twitter.com/SDeGwet/status/1245780263474532355?s=20

https://twitter.com/IlsaAida/status/1245753608911585281?s=20

https://twitter.com/leevi_immanuel/status/1245752489196113921?s=20

https://twitter.com/arafrika/status/1245751506453790724?s=20

https://twitter.com/DoreenGLM/status/1245730668383879169?s=20

https://twitter.com/_afro_politan/status/1245771804657901568?s=20

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