As minds come together in efforts to develop a vaccine and cure that will put a halt to the pandemic, some insist on contributing their ill and racially immoral two cents. Among the latter are two French doctors who suggest using the people of Africa as COVID-19 vaccine testing subjects.
Professor Jean-Paul Mira, head of the Resuscitation Department at the Cochin Hospital and Professor Camile Locht, the research director at Inserm, both agree that the continent of Africa is the ideal location to test the vaccine.
“If I can be proactive, shouldn’t we do this study in Africa where there are no masks, no treatment, no reanimation,” Mira said in a TRTWorld discussion.
It seems that Mira has neglected to view Africans as people, but instead, as testing dummies who can help the rest of the world be proactive against COVID-19.
He continues his demeaning rant by saying “a little bit as is done in some AIDS studies where they used prostitutes to test some things.”
Mira’s statements reek of the historical scientific experimentation on Black people such as in The Tuskegee Study where Black men were used as testing subjects to track the full progression of Syphilis.
During the TRTWorld discussion, Mira also justifies his idea under the claims that the people of Africa “don’t protect themselves,” and his colleague Locht agrees.
“You are right, we are thinking of a parallel study in Africa to use this same kind of approach with the BCG placebos,” Locht said in reference to the Bacillus Calmette–Guérin vaccine used in tuberculosis.
Locht’s approach is all too similar to placebos given to the Black men of the Tuskegee Study who were not treated, but instead given placebos to study the life-threatening symptoms of Syphilis.
Among those outraged by the doctors’ comments are professional African football stars, Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o. Each of them took to social media to refute the French doctors.
“Africa isn’t a testing lab,” Drogba tweeted.
It is totally inconceivable we keep on cautioning this.
Africa isn’t a testing lab.
I would like to vividly denounce those demeaning, false and most of all deeply racists words.
Helps us save Africa with the current ongoing Covid 19 and flatten the curve. pic.twitter.com/41GIpXaIYv
— Didier Drogba (@didierdrogba) April 2, 2020
According to Face2Face Africa, Eto’o posted “You are just SH*T. Africa can’t be yours to play with,” as a caption in his Instagram post.
As scientists, researchers, and frontline medical personnel battle to stop the coronavirus, it seems as if Mira and Locht are more focused on regressing society and tarnishing the advances of medicine with their approach.
Of course, citizens all of the world are counting on the field of medicine to create a vaccine and cure, but this isn’t the way to do it.