French doctor apologizes for ‘Africa’ coronavirus test idea

Suggesting Africans test a “repurposed” tuberculosis vaccine to help find a COVID-19 vaccine has triggered outrage. A French anti-racism group slammed the idea floated by two French doctors, one of whom has apologized.

Paris intensive care doctor Jean-Paul Mira apologized Friday for suggesting the testing in Africa of a “repurposed” tuberculosis vaccine as a COVID-19 beater during an expert chat with a colleague on television.

“Africa isn’t a testing lab,” replied retired Ivory Coast football star Didier Drogba, and a Moroccan lawyers’ collective had said it would sue Mira for racial defamation.

French group SOS Racisme said Africans aren’t guinea pigs and France’s CSA broadcast ethics watchdog said it had received a complaint.

Paris’ clinic network, including Mira as head of intensive care at its Cochin hospital, on Friday quoted him as saying: “I want to present all my apologies to those who were hurt, shocked and felt insulted by the remarks I clumsily expressed.”

On Wednesday, in a broadcast on the channel LCI, Mira discussed the rush to find anti-coronavirus vaccines with Camille Locht, research head at France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), based in Lille.

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