The Democratic Republic of Congo has said it will offer its citizens for any future testing of a vaccine against the coronavirus.
This was made public by the head of the country’s taskforce against the pandemic on Friday.
The head of the national biological institute, Jean-Jacques Muyembe told journalists that “We’ve been chosen to conduct these tests.”
Muyembe adds that “The vaccine will be produced in the United States, or in Canada, or in China. We’re candidates for doing the testing here.”
But the announcement has sparked outrage in DR Congo with citizens accusing the government of attempt to use them as guinea pigs.
But according to Muyembe such a clinical trials on citizens could begin in July or August.
Muyembe who himself is a virologist said “At some point, COVID-19 will be uncontrollable.”
“The only way to control it will be a vaccine, just like Ebola. It was a vaccine that helped us end the Ebola epidemic.”
Vaccine trial in Africa
Already suggestions by two French doctors for coronavirus vaccine to be first tested in Africa has been greeted by outrage across Africa.
The backlash forced one of the doctors who made the comment to apologize.
On a french local TV channel LCI, Dr Jean-Paul Mira said “If I can be provocative, shouldn’t we do this study in Africa, where there are no masks, no treatment, no resuscitation, a bit like it has been done in some studies in AIDS, where among prostitutes, we try things, because they are exposed, and they don’t protect themselves, what do you think?”
Mira was discussing the rush to find anti-coronavirus vaccines with another doctor called Camille Locht, who is the research head at France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), based in Lille.
Locht replied saying “So you are right[…]we’re thinking in parallel to a study in Africa precisely to make this same type of approach w/ BCG [vaccine]placebo.
I think there is a call for tenders that was released or that will be released & I think we will indeed srsly think about that too.”
The Paris intensive care doctor Jean-Paul Mira apologized on Friday for his comments with Paris’ clinic network, quoting 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.”
Africans speak against vaccine testing
African football legends including Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o leading the charge.
Drogba reacted angrily saying “It is totally inconceivable we keep on cautioning this. Africa isn’t a testing lab.
I would like to vividly denounce those demeaning, false and most of all deeply racists words. Helps us save Africa with the current ongoing Covid 19 and flatten the curve.”
So far there is no cure for the deadly virus but scientists around the world are still working on a potential vaccine.
There are no experimental vaccines yet for usage as the world is still months behind a potential vaccine.
Globally at least one million people have been infected by the virus with over 50,000 deaths so far as at April 3, 2020.
Africa has so far recorded over 8,000 cases with over 200 deaths as at April 4, 2020. The continent is still the least affected by the pandemic.