The comments came during a debate on the French TV channel LCI, the BBC reported. Camille Locht, head of research at the Inserm health research group, had mentioned conducting a trial of the BCG vaccine in Europe and Australia.
“If I can be provocative,” responded Jean-Paul Mira, head of intensive care at Cochin Hospital in Paris, “shouldn’t we be doing this study in Africa, where there are no masks, no treatments, no resuscitation?”
“A bit like as it is done elsewhere for some studies on AIDS,” the doctor added, according to the report.
“In prostitutes, we try things because we know that they are highly exposed and that they do not protect themselves.”
Mira had earlier suggested that the study might not work as planned on health care workers in Europe and Australia, because they have access to personal protective equipment, guarding them from the contagion.
“You are right,” Locht responded.
Two former soccer players in Africa blasted the doctors for their comments.
“It is totally inconceivable we keep on cautioning this,” Didier Drogba tweeted. “Africa isn’t a testing lab. I would like to vividly denounce those demeaning, false and most of all deeply racist words.”
“Africa is not your playing ground,” Samuel Eto’o wrote on Instagram.