Quantcast
Connect with us

‘Africa is not a laboratory’: Uproar after French scientists suggest testing virus vaccine in Africa

Published

on

Two leading French doctors have sparked a storm of criticism after discussing on a television program the idea of testing a vaccine for coronavirus in Africa.

Former international and Ivory Coast football star Didier Drogba joined lawyers and a French anti-racism organization in criticizing the comments made on Wednesday in a broadcast on the LCI channel.

Camille Locht, head of research at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in Lille, was questioned about a shield for coronavirus using the well-known BCG vaccine for tuberculosis.

ADVERTISEMENT

He was asked by Jean-Paul Mira, head of intensive care at the Cochin hospital in Paris, whether Africa offered better conditions for testing the vaccine.

“If I could be provocative, shouldn’t we be doing this study in Africa, where there are no masks, no treatment, no intensive care, rather as was done with certain studies on AIDS, where things are tested on prostitutes because it’s known that they are highly exposed (to HIV)?” Mira asked. “What do you think?”

Locht replied: “You’re right, we are thinking in parallel by the way about a study in Africa with the same kind of approach, (but) it doesn’t prevent us from being able to think about a study in Europe and Australia at the same time.”

Scientists who carry out clinical trials try to find conditions in which large numbers of people are exposed to the disease, as this gives a better opportunity for testing a new drug.

Such trials are carried out under strict supervision, which requires volunteers to be briefed about any risks and to give their informed consent.

ADVERTISEMENT

But the idea of having Africa as a setting for a coronavirus vaccine is controversial.

Africa is the world’s poorest continent and its citizens bear the least responsibility for spreading the virus, which originated in China and spread to the Middle East, Europe and the United States through jet travel.

At the same time, Africans are badly exposed to the microbe, both in terms of preparedness and health care.

ADVERTISEMENT

Former international football star Drogba was among those who criticized the remarks about testing in Africa.

“It is inconceivable that we continue to accept this. Africa is not a laboratory. I strongly denounce these very serious, racist and contemptuous words,” the former Chelsea and Marseille striker wrote on his Facebook page and on Twitter.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Help us save lives in Africa and stop the spread of the virus that is destabilizing the whole world instead of seeing us as guinea pigs. It is absurd.”

– Complaints and a lawsuit –

A French anti-racism NGO, SOS Racisme, issued a statement saying, “No, Africans aren’t guinea pigs” and described the comparison with AIDS and prostitutes as “problematic” and “unwelcome.”

The CSA, the ethics watchdog for radio and television in France, told AFP it had received a complaint.

ADVERTISEMENT

Among those who voiced anger on social media was an association of lawyers in Morocco, which said it planned to file a lawsuit for “racial defamation.”

INSERM said that an “edited video was leading to erroneous interpretations (of the comments) on social media.”

It said on Twitter that trials would take place in several European countries and Australia, and “Africa should not be forgotten or excluded from research, as the pandemic is global.”

Mira closed down public access to his Twitter account after receiving what he said were threats and insults.

ADVERTISEMENT

He told the Huffington Post that he was deeply upset by the accusations made against him, and apologized if his comments had not been “clear.”

“Clinical trials take place everywhere. Less so in Africa,” he said.

A trial conducted in a local setting could unlock knowledge that could lead to local benefits, he said.

He pointed to the study on sex workers and HIV, “which was done to protect prostitutes in South Africa.”

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

2020 Election

WATCH: Trump supporter cries discrimination during Starbucks mask meltdown

Published

on

An argument that erupted between a barista and her customer at a Santee, Calif. Starbucks has gone viral.

The incident occurred when the barista, Alex Beckom, 19, asked her customer to pull her mask up from her chin. The customer was a White woman wearing a Trump 2020 mask. The customer's response was that she was being discriminated against because of her support of President Donald J. Trump.

“F— Black Lives Matter,” the customer told Beckom, who is Black.

The woman then asked for a straw and sugar packets before they parted ways.

Watch the video below.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

You are part of Trump’s callous and covert science experiment — you just don’t know it yet

Published

on

It’s understood the president has not done nearly enough to combat the spread of the new coronavirus. It’s understood he’s gotten in the way of states trying to protect residents. What’s not understood, however, is the United States government, under Donald Trump’s leadership, seems to be conducting a science experiment on the American people without telling us, one informed by ideology, not medicine. All things being equal, a second term for the president will not only coincide with a permanent pandemic; it will cause hundreds of thousands more people to die.

This article was originally published at The Editorial Board

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

CDC reports 285,000 more deaths than a ‘normal’ year due to COVID-19 pandemic

Published

on

A new report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the coronavirus pandemic has left about 285,000 more people dead in the United States than would be expected in a typical non-pandemic year. Of the approximate 285,000 deaths, two-thirds were attributed to the virus.

The CDC study found that the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, has taken a disproportionate toll on Latinos and Blacks. The CDC also found that COVID-19 deaths hit 25- to 44-year-olds extremely hard with an "excess death" rate up by 26.5 percent in relation to previous years. This was the largest death jump among any age group in the study.

Continue Reading
 
 
Democracy is in peril. Invest in progressive news. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free. LEARN MORE