Former Côte d’Ivoire footballer Didier Drogba lashed out at two French doctors who have been accused of propagating racism by suggesting that coronavirus vaccines be used on trial in Africa.
Jean-Paul Mira, head of intensive care at Cochin hospital in Paris, and Camille Locht, head of research at the Inserm health research group, both said during an interview on French TV that there was a case for testing out the vaccines in African countries.
“If I can be provocative, shouldn’t we be doing this study in Africa, where there are no masks, no treatments, no resuscitation?” Dr. Mira said.
Dr. Mira added: “A bit like as it is done elsewhere for some studies on AIDS. In prostitutes, we try things because we know that they are highly exposed and that they do not protect themselves.”
You are right. We are in the process of thinking about a study in parallel in Africa,” Dr. Locht responded.
Drogba took to social media to condemn the incident saying it was “totally inconceivable” that such thoughts were still being entertained.
“Africa isn’t a testing lab. I would like to vividly denounce those demeaning, false and most of all deeply racists words,” Drogba said.
The former Chelsea and Marseille striker said that the remarks by the pair were “disgusting”.
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
“Let us save ourselves from this crazy virus that is plummeting the world economy and ravaging populations health worldwide. Do not take African people as human guinea pigs! It’s absolutely disgusting.”
Drogba also urged African leaders to take up the responsibility to protect their populations from such horrendous conspiracies.
Amnesty International’s media manager for Europe and Turkey, Stefan Simanowitz, described the comments as “disgusting” in a tweet.
The Moroccan Lawyers Club also lashed out at the doctors and says it plans to sue them.
According to a statement from Inserm, the video was “the subject of erroneous interpretations”.
Africa is thus far the least affected by the coronavirus pandemic.