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Under Examination

Health regulators in five countries are taking a look at BGI's prenatal test following a Reuters report that said the company has ties to the Chinese military, according to the Guardian.

In July, Reuters reported that BGI developed its NIFTY prenatal test in conjunction with the Chinese military and that patients' data was being sent to and stored in China. BGI, however, has disputed much of the Reuters reports. In a statement, it said that it developed its NIFTY prenatal test on its own, that it adheres to international privacy standards, and that data from clients outside China is not stored in China.

Guardian reports that regulators in Germany and Slovenia are examining the test under European Union data protection rules and notes the European Data Protection Supervisor is monitoring the situation. German, Australian, Estonian, and Canadian regulators have also called on BGI to be transparent about its data collection and have said local vendors may be responsible for ensuring data privacy even if the data is sent abroad, the Guardian adds.

"It is vital that the patient is provided with clear information," Beverley Rowbotham, chair of Australia's National Pathology Accreditation Advisory Council, tells the Guardian.