PARIS : Two leading French doctors have triggered a storm of criticism after discussing on a television programme the idea of testing a vaccine for coronovirus in Africa.

In a broadcast on Wednesday on the LCI channel, Camille Locht, head of research at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research [INSERM] in Lille, was questioned about a shield for  coronavirus using the well-known BCG medicine for tuberculosis.

He was asked Jean-Paul Mira, head of intensive care at the Cochin hospital in Paris, whether Africa offered better conditions for testing the vaccine.

''If I could be provocative, shouldn't we be doing this study in Africa, where there are no masks, no treatment, no intensive car, rather as what was done with certain studies on AIDS, where things are tested on prostitutes because it is known that that they are highly exposed [to HIV]?'' Mira asked. ''What do you think?''

Locht replied : ''You're right, we are thinking in parallel by the way about a study in Africa with the 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.''

Scientists who carry out clinical trials to find the conditions in which large numbers of of people are exposed to the disease, as this gives a better opportunity for testing a new drug.

Such trials are carried under strict supervision, which requires volunteers to be briefed about any risks and to give their informed consent.

But the idea of having Africa as a setting for a coronavirus vaccine is controversial.

Africa is the world's poorest continent and its citizens bear the least responsibility for spreading the virus, which originated in China and spread to the Middle East, Europe and the United States through jet travel. [AFP]


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!