Pig heart transplant: The organ was infected with a pig virus

Pig heart transplanted to US patient earlier this year carried pig virus [1] ” who may have caused the experiment to fail and contributed to his death two months later (cf. death of the patient who had received a pig’s heart).

A ” forty days David Bennett’s condition worsened after the transplant. After his death, no obvious cause had not been identified, according to a statement from the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

The cause of death?

This is during a webinar from theAmerican Society for Transplantationon April 20 that his surgeon, Bartley Griffith, revealed the presence of this virus and what had been attempted to defeat it.

Doctors were indeed given a ” common problem in transplantation medicine: “ how to fight infection while keeping the patient’s immune system under control » (cf. Organ transplantation: Endangered everyday life for immunocompromised people). But in the case of David Bennett, they didn’t know. the true extent of the infection “. And ” no one had ever treated a human for this particular swine virus “.

The question is now the subject of a Broad debate among experts who believe the infection may have contributed to the patient’s death. The biotech company that supplied the pig heart revivicorShe declined to comment and made no public statement.

A survey of foreign transplants?

The type of virus found in transplanted pig hearts would not be able to infect human cells, according to Jay Fishman, a transplant-related infection specialist Massachusetts General Hospital. Nevertheless, virus transmission from pigs to humans is a cause for concern. As a matter of fact ” Some worry that xenotransplantation could trigger a pandemic if a virus adapts in a patient’s body and then spreads to doctors and nurses “. A worry ” severe enough to require lifelong patient monitoring “.

This is an important red flag says Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University. ” If doctors cannot prevent or control infection, “then such experiments are difficult to justify” “, he believes.

[1] porcine cytomegalovirus

Source: MIT, Antonio Regalado (05/04/2022)

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