Coronavirus Vaccine (representative image) Photograph:( AFP )
WHO's came in the aftermath of two French doctors being accused of racism after a TV debate in which one suggested trials in Africa to see if a tuberculosis vaccine would prove effective against coronavirus.
World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said Africa would not become a testing ground for any vaccines against COVID-19.
His reaction came in the aftermath of two French doctors being accused of racism after a TV debate in which one suggested trials in Africa to see if a tuberculosis vaccine would prove effective against coronavirus.
"Africa cannot and will not be a testing ground for any vaccine. We will follow all the rules to test any vaccine or therapeutics all over the world using exactly the same rule, whether it's in Europe, Africa or wherever," Tedros said, in Geneva on Monday.
According to the Xinhua news agency, Tedros was appalled by comments made last week by some scientists, who said the testing ground for the new vaccines will be Africa. He said "the hangover from a colonial mentality has to stop, adding this would not happen in Africa, and will not happen elsewhere, in any country.
"Proper protocol will be followed and human beings will be treated as human beings... the same way equally," he underlined.
Tedros revealed that the WHO would hopefully announce later this week an initiative to accelerate research, development and production of vaccines against COVID-19, as well as designed mechanisms for "equitable distribution" of the vaccines.
"We will have a problem while looking for vaccines, unless we break the barriers to equitable distribution of the products. And for this, we need to address the challenges to access ahead of time."
According to the WHO chief, about 20 institutions and companies are racing to develop a vaccine.