A French doctor who suggested that a potential coronavirus treatment be tested in Africa is now apologizing for his comments.
“If I could be provocative, should we not do this study in Africa where there are no masks, treatment or intensive care,” Dr. Jean-Paul Mira, head of intensive care at Cochin hospital in Paris, said Wednesday in a televised interview. “We try things because we know that they are highly exposed and they don’t protect themselves.”
Earlier in the interview, Mira doubted that testing of a tuberculosis vaccine against coronavirus would work in Europe or Australia, the BBC reported. He thought widespread access to protective equipment would affect results.
Mira’s comments were met with swift backlash on social media.
“Africa isn’t a testing lab. I would like to vividly denounce those demeaning, false and most of all deeply racist words,” Ivorian soccer star Didier Drogba tweeted. “Do not take African people as human guinea pigs! It’s absolutely disgusting.”
MIra apologized Friday, according to the BBC. “I want to present all my apologies to those who were hurt, shocked and felt insulted by the remarks that I clumsily expressed on LCI this week,” he said, referring to the channel he appeared on.
So far, Africa has seen the fewest COVID-19 cases of all six populated continents. More than a million people worldwide have now been infected with the virus, most of them in Europe and North America.
He may have apologized, but we know how he truly feels — he said it.