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UK orders review of medical device racial bias

A review into whether medical devices are equally effective regardless of the patient’s ethnicity has been ordered by Health Secretary Sajid Javid.

Research suggests oximeters, which are clipped to a person’s finger, can overstate the level of oxygen in the blood of people from ethnic minorities, BBC reported.

Ministers want to know whether bias could have prevented patients receiving appropriate Covid treatment.

Javid said any bias was “totally unacceptable”.

Evidence suggests people belonging to ethnic minorities have been at greater risk from Covid during the pandemic.

A study published last year indicated that black people were twice as likely as white people to catch coronavirus. People of Asian heritage were 1.5 times more likely than their white counterparts to be infected, research suggested.

An independent chairman to lead the review is yet to be appointed, but the initial findings are expected by the end of January.