Photo by Marco Longari/AFP via Getty Images.

A young boy looks on as a Gauteng Health Department Official adjusts her gloves before collecting samples during a door-to-door COVID-19 coronavirus testing drive in Yeoville, Johannesburg

French Doctors Cause Outrage After Suggesting COVID-19 Vaccine Be Tested on Africans

A discussion about holding coronavirus vaccine trials on Africans from a French television show has been labeled racist and colonial by critics including Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto'o.

Two French doctors have stirred considerable controversy following a discussion they had on live television, channel LCI. Dr Jean-Paul Mira, the head of intensive care at Cochin Hospital in Paris, and Dr Camille Locht, the head of research at the Inserm health research group, both suggested that the coronavirus vaccine be tested on Africans.

At the beginning of the televised discussion, Mira prefaces his comments by saying that he may sound "provocative". He then proceeds to ask Locht about the possibility of testing the coronavirus vaccine on Africans saying, "Shouldn't we be doing this study in Africa, where there are no masks, no treatments, no resuscitation?" Mira also adds, "A bit like as it is done elsewhere for some studies on AIDS."

Making use of an example, Mira explains how AIDS studies in the past have been performed on sex workers based on their high exposure to the disease. He "reasons" that since Africans are not protected from the coronavirus, that they'd essentially be the test subjects.

Dr Locht agrees with Mira saying, "We are in the process of thinking about a study in parallel in Africa."

Understandably, this has caused widespread outrage among Africans who already feel that the West feels hard done by the fact that the continent has exponentially less cases of the coronavirus than countries such as the US, UK, Asia and other parts of Europe.

A number of questionable clinical trials have been carried out by the West in various parts of Africa which has led to a general feeling of distrust around certain vaccines and new treatments.

READ: Op-Ed: Africa is Not the Center of The Coronavirus Epidemic and the West is Pissed

Many Africans, including the likes of Ivorian footballer Didier Drogba and retired Cameroonian footballer Samuel Eto'o, have publicly slammed the comments on social media.

It also bears mentioning that the underlying assumptions of the doctors are in fact inaccurate and the governments of many African countries are and have been in the process of ensuring that citizens receive masks as well as mass screening in some instances. Read our rolling coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in Africa here.

Watch the video below of the discussion between the two doctors below:

French doctors discuss testing Covid-19 vaccine in Africa


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