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'Africans aren’t guinea pigs': Drogba and Eto'o slam 'racist' suggestions that Africa be used as coronavirus testing ground

'Africans aren’t guinea pigs': Drogba and Eto'o slam 'racist' suggestions that Africa be used as coronavirus testing ground
African football icons including Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba have reacted with rage after doctors suggested the continent could be used as a testing ground during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jean Paul Mira and Camille Locht, a pair of medical experts in Paris, were speaking about the global health crisis in an online conversation when they discussed carrying out a major study in Africa in the race to find a vaccine for the virus.

Pointing to the lack of masks, treatments and resuscitation equipment on the continent, they suggested that prostitutes had been targeted for testing in Africa during attempts to find remedies for the AIDS epidemic during the 1980s and 1990s, and said an approach could be based on people who are “very exposed and do not have protection.”

Chelsea legend and two-time African Footballer of the Year Didier Drogba called the remarks “scandalous” and “absolutely disgusting.”

"It is totally inconceivable that we have to warn of this,” the Ivory Coast all-time leading scorer said.

“I would like to vividly denounce these demeaning, false and most of all deeply racist words. Africa isn’t a testing lab. Let us save ourselves from this crazy virus that is plummeting the world economy and ravaging population health worldwide.

“Don't use Africans as guinea pigs. African leaders have a responsibility to protect people from these horrendous conspiracies.”

Former Barcelona hero Samuel Eto’o was one of the first to react to the shocking debate, angrily replying to the meeting: “Son of a b*tch.

“You’re just SH*T,” added the striker, who picked up the most prestigious individual prize in African football a record four times. “Africa is not a playground for you.”

Outraged Senegal star Demba Ba shared the video on social media and called for uproar. “Welcome to the west, where white people believe themselves to be so superior that racism and debility become a banality,” wrote the former Premier League and current Basaksehir forward, urging: “TIME TO RISE.”

Ba also referred to “all the episodes of racism that we experienced just in football in less than six months”, including an allegation of racist abuse towards a player from one of his former clubs, Antonio Rudiger at Chelsea, which caused a Premier League match at Tottenham to be halted this season.

The 34-year old asked: “Can we consider as good a person who sees an injustice but does not act?”

Former Liverpool, Juventus and Paris Saint Germain midfielder Mohamed Sissoko called the comments “abject and shameful.”“The bullshit virus has not spared [France],” he added. “It drives you crazy.”

The virus, which has infected more than a million people worldwide, is at an early stage of its spread in Africa, affecting countries such as South Africa, where a three-week lockdown was imposed last week ahead of an expected infection peak in May.

Republic of Congo midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu, who left Scottish champions Celtic last year and was a Player of the Year for West Bromwich Albion during their spell in the Premier League, added: “Africa is not a trash can or a laboratory. No coronavirus vaccine test in Africa.”

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