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Africa Cannot be a Testing Ground for COVID-19 Vaccine-WHO DG

The head of of the Wolrd Health Organisation, Tedros Ghebreyesus, has dispersed claims in some quarters that the suggestions by two French scientists that the Coronavirus vaccine should be tested in Africa, are racist.Two Science professors, Jean-Paul Mira of Cochin Hospital in Paris and Camille Locht of Inserm, of France national medical research centre, had on April 2nd, appeared on French television LCI, to debate potentials for COVID-19 cures.Mr. Mirab had said, if he “may be provocative, should this study not be done in Africa?”To which, Mr. Locht replied, “You are right. We are currently thinking similarly about a study in Africa regarding the BCG vaccine. There is a proposal that has gone out — or will. We will seriously consider it.”In their rage about such a move, public figures like Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o described it as unbelievably shocking and provocative.In their defence, the scientists apologised for their comments and said they had only suggested that Africa should be added to an ongoing trial of a vaccine in Europe and Australia. They argued that Africa might be a better place to get a more accurate result for the tests because, unlike Europe and Australia, there was no widespread use of protective gears on the continent.Reacting further to the scientists’ comments at a press briefing on Monday, the Ethiopian head of the WHO, Mr Ghebreyesus described such suggestions as a hangover from the “colonial mentality.”“Africa cannot and will not be a testing ground for any vaccine. We will follow all the rules to test any vaccine or therapeutics all over the world using exactly the same rule … whether it is in Europe, Africa or wherever.”He further said such a statement is “a disgrace actually, appalling to hear during the 21st century from scientists, that kind of remark.”He said “proper protocols will be followed and human beings will be treated as human beings because we are all human beings” in the course of testing any potential vaccine against the coronavirus pandemic.

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