Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), condemned the “racist comments” of two French doctors who spoke of Africa as “a testing ground” to test a vaccine against the coronavirus.
The remarks of a researcher from the French Institute of Medical Research (INSERM) and head of a department of a Parisian hospital on April 1 on the LCI chain aroused a wave of anger in Africa.
Camille Locht, director of research at INSERM in Lille (northern France), was interviewed about research carried out on the BCG vaccine against covid-19.
Jean-Paul Mira, head of the intensive medicine and resuscitation department at Cochin hospital, asked him: “If I was a bit provocative, I would say that we could go and do tests in Africa. They haven’t got masks, no treatment, no intensive care system. We could go and test there,” suggests the doctor. He continues that “it’s a bit like when we tested vaccines against AIDS on prostitutes because we knew that they don’t protect themselves,” he added, making a comparison with Africans to prostitutes while discussing the use of a BCG vaccine for tuberculosis against Covid-19.
Mr. Camille Lotcht replied: “You are right, we are in the process of thinking about a study in parallel in Africa”.
Asked about these words during the WHO briefing on the coronavirus, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus did not go through four paths to express his anger. “These kinds of racist comments do nothing to advance.
“That kind of racist talk doesn’t help. They go against the spirit of solidarity. Africa cannot and will not be a testing ground for any vaccine,” said World Health Organization head, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during a virtual press conference from Geneva.
“The legacy of the colonial mentality must end, it’s shameful and horrifying to hear scientists say that in the 21st century. We condemn them in the strongest possible terms,” from a Nigerian journalist.