COVID-19: Africa Won’t Be Testing Ground For Vaccine – WHO
The WHO has said that it will not allow any attempt to make Africa a testing ground for a new vaccine developed to fight against coronavirus.
The Director-General of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated this in response to a suggestion by two French doctors that Coronavirus vaccine should be tested first in Africa just as was done with HIV, tuberculosis vaccines some years ago.
Ghebreyesus during a media briefing on COVID-19, on Tuesday said, “On the vaccines issue, there was a comment last week from a couple of scientists who said the testing ground for the new vaccines will be Africa, to be honest, I was so appalled”.
The Director-General of the WHO described the comment as a ‘racist remark’, said, “The hangover from the colonial mentality has to stop.
“WHO will not allow this to happen – it is a disgrace and appalling to hear this kind of remarks from scientists during the 21st century.
“The WHO condemns the remarks of testing any vaccines on Africans with the strongest possible term”.
Continuing, Ghebreyesus said that the WHO would follow proper protocols and rules to test any vaccine or therapeutics all over the world, whether in Europe, Africa or wherever he insisted that human beings must be treated equally.
“Africa will not or cannot be the testing grounds for the vaccines,” he objected, adding that “proper protocols will be followed and human beings will be treated as human beings”.
Also reacting to the show that sparked widespread anger, a former footballer, Didier Drogba said the comments were “absolutely disgusting and deeply racist”.
“Do not take African people as human guinea pigs! It’s absolutely disgusting”.
Another former footballer, Samuel Eto’o called the doctors “murderers”.
Recall that Camille Locht, Research Director for France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), was talking about a vaccine trial in Europe and Australia, during a debate on the French TV channel LCI.
Jean-Paul Mira, Head of Intensive Care at Cochin Hospital in Paris, then said: “If I can be provocative, shouldn’t we be doing this study in Africa, where there are no masks, no treatments, and no resuscitation?
“A bit like it is done elsewhere for some studies on AIDS where on prostitutes we try things because we know that they are highly exposed and that they do not protect themselves….”
Mr Locht agreed to the suggestion and said: “You are right. We are in the process of thinking about a study in parallel in Africa.”
Dr Mira had earlier questioned whether the study would work as planned on healthcare workers in Australia and Europe or not because they had access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while working.