Man With Pig Heart Transplant Detected With Animal Virus, Dies

A 57-year-old man, David Bennett Sr died in March, two months after the ground-breaking experimental pig heart transplant.

University of Maryland doctors said they found viral DNA inside the pig heart. They did not find signs that this bug, called porcine cytomegalovirus, caused an active infection and subsequent death.

First time ever in history of mankind, the surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center implanted a heart from a genetically modified pig in a man with terminal heart disease.

The historic procedure took about eight hours. It was the first successful pig-to-human heart transplant ever performed and marked the beginning of a new era for xenotransplantation.

Bartley P Griffith, MD, who surgically transplanted the pig heart, said that this was a breakthrough surgery and brings us one step closer to solving the organ shortage crisis.

It was the only currently available option for the patient, the University of Maryland Medicine said on Monday (January 10, 2022) after performing the historic surgery.

“This organ transplant demonstrated for the first time that a genetically-modified animal heart can function like a human heart without immediate rejection by the body,” the University said in a statement.

It is noteworthy that the US Food and Drug Administration had granted emergency authorization for the surgery on New Year’s Eve through its expanded access (compassionate use) provision.

but unfortunately with the detection of the virus, a lot more needs to be done. Research needs to be streamlined.

ALSO READ: Historic, Surgeons successfully transplant pig heart into human for the first time in US

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