Racism row as French doctors suggest virus vaccine test in Africa

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Africa is currently the continent least affected by COVID-19, with nearly 7,500 cases and more than 320 deaths [File: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP]

Two doctors spark criticism for discussing in a TV show the idea of testing a vaccine for the coronavirus in Africa.

by Rebecca Rosman

April 4, 2020

Two French doctors have been accused of racism for suggesting that a potential vaccine for coronavirus should first be tested on people in Africa.

The comments were made on the French television channel, LCI, during a discussion on Wednesday about COVID-19 trials set to be launched in Europe and Australia to see if the BCG tuberculosis vaccine could be used to treat the virus.

“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.”

SOURCE: https://www.aljazeera.com/

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