The African Union, AU, said on Thursday that a controversial suggestion made by French doctors to test a coronavirus vaccine in Africa smacks of colonialism and will not be pursued.
“We condemn in no uncertain terms any attempt to come and try this vaccine on Africa and we reject it totally.
“The times of the colonialists are past gone,” Kwesi Quartey, the Deputy Chairperson of the AU said in Addis Ababa.
He noted that the continent has had the “least amount of casualties’’ from the virus, with a total of 572 deaths recorded and suggested that any vaccine be tested in the worst-affected places such as New York, Paris or Italy.
During a programme that aired on French television recently, Camille Locht from France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research and Jean-Paul Mira from the Cochin Hospital in Paris suggested Africa as a location for vaccine tests.
According to them, people there do not have masks, treatments or resuscitation.
“A bit like it’s done with some studies on AIDS, where things are tried with prostitutes because we know they are highly exposed and do not protect themselves,’’ Mira said.
The doctors’ comments caused an uproar and were condemned by the French embassy in South Africa, among others.
Mr Quartey also took issue with recent comments by U.S. President Donald Trump criticising the coronavirus response by the World Health Organisation, which is led by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, an Ethiopian national.
“Those who question Tedros’ response are”probably people who continue to cast aspersions on Africa and always find ways to blame Africa for everything,” Mr Quartey said.