WHO: Africans won’t be used as guinea pigs in coronavirus vaccine test
The Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has condemned what he called “racist” comments by two French doctors who suggested a vaccine for the coronavirus could be tested in Africa.
During a debate on French TV channel last week, the doctors said the vaccine trials should be done in Africa, where “there are no masks, no treatments and no resuscitation.”
The doctors’ remarks sparked outrage and they were accused of treating Africans like “human guinea pigs”.
One of them later apologized and claimed they were misunderstood.
Responding to questions during the WHO’s coronavirus briefing on Monday, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who hails from Ethiopia reacted angrily, saying “Africa cannot and will not be a testing ground for any vaccine.”
The WHO chief called the doctor’s suggestion “a hangover from the colonial mentality.”
“The hangover from a colonial mentality has to stop and WHO will not allow this to happen. It was a disgrace actually and appalling to hear during the 21st century, to hear from scientists, that kind of remark. We condemn this in the strongest terms possible and we assure you that this will not happen.”
African countries have been sites for clinical trials by large pharmaceutical companies, raising human rights concerns.
Incidents of unethical experimentation, clinical trials lacking properly informed consent, and forced medical procedures have been claimed and prosecuted.