Animal Virus Detected In Pig Heart Used In Man Who Died After Transplant
Researchers said a virus was detected in the pig heart which was used in the heart transplant of a man, who later died, from Maryland in US.
New Delhi: An animal virus was detected in the pig heart which was used in the heart transplant of a man, who later died, from Maryland in US. The researches said it cannot yet determine if this played any role in the man’s death. 57-year-old David Bennett Sr died in March, two months after the groundbreaking experimental transplant.
University of Maryland doctors said Thursday they found an unwelcome surprise — viral DNA inside the pig heart. They did not find signs that this bug, called porcine cytomegalovirus, was causing an active infection.
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The animal virus was first reported by MIT Technology Review, citing a scientific presentation Griffith gave to the American Society of Transplantation last month.
For decades, doctors have tried using animal organs to save human lives without success. Bennett, who was dying and ineligible for a human heart transplant, underwent the last-ditch operation using a heart from a pig genetically modified to lower the risk that his immune system would rapidly reject such a foreign organ.
The Maryland team said the donor pig was healthy, had passed testing required by the Food and Drug Administration to check for infections, and was raised in a facility designed to prevent animals from spreading infections.
Because some viruses are “latent,” meaning they lurk without causing disease, “it could be a hitchhiker,” Dr. Bartley Griffith, the surgeon who performed Bennett’s transplant, told The Associated Press.
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