French Doctor Apologizes for Suggesting Africans Should be Guinea Pigs for COVID-19 Vaccine

One of two French physicians has apologized for suggesting Africans test a repurposed tuberculosis vaccine to help find a vaccine for COVID-19. The televised discussion caused an uproar.

Jean -Paul Mira, MD, a Paris-based intensive care doctor, recently apologized for suggesting the testing in Africa of a repurposed tuberculosis vaccine as a COVID-beater during a television discussion with other medical professionals, according to DW News, which is based in Germany.

“I want to present all of my apologies to those who were hurt and felt insulted by my remarks,” said Mira, head of intensive care at Cochin Hospital.

The group was discussing BCG, a vaccine for TB used for decades to help shield health workers and to reduce suffering from respiratory illnesses among children as well as mitigating asthma and autoimmune diseases.

Mira posed the question: … “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?”

Camille Locht, one of the panelists, replied, “You’re right, we are thinking in parallel by the way about a study in Africa with 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.” Locht is research head at France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research based in Lille, France.

The discussion angered retired Ivory Coast football star Didier Drogba. “Africa isn’t a testing lab,” he said. The French Group SOS Racisme said “Africans aren’t guinea pigs.”

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