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Pig heart used in unpublished transplant was infected by a virus – Health

David Bennett
David Bennett (R) had surgery in January and died two months later (photo: UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND SCHOOL OF MEDICINE/AFP)

Earlier this year, the news that, for the first time in history, a man had received the transplant in heart on one pig encouraged doctors and patients. In March, however, David Bennett died, and the scientists involved in the unprecedented surgery began to investigate The reason of bit. Yesterday, they disclosed that the organ used in the procedure contained a viruswhich may have contributed to the undesired outcome.

In a report published in the journal MIT Technology Review, experts revealed that Bennett’s heart was affected by the swine cytomegalovirus. “We are beginning to understand why he died,” said Bartley Griffith, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in the United States and one of the surgeons responsible for the transplant.

According to the scientist, “perhaps the virus was the actor, or it could be the actor, who triggered” Bennett’s death. The information described in the journal was presented by Griffith during a webinar broadcast online by the American Society of Transplantation last month. At the time, the surgeon also detailed the desperate efforts of specialists to defeat the infection. The virus detected is very common in pigs and, in these animals, usually causes only sneezing.

The biotechnology company that created the pig used in the procedure, Revivicor, declined to comment on the patient’s death and has not made a public statement about the virus. When detailing the experiment in January, the team responsible for the surgery highlighted that the animals used for medical procedures should be free of pathogens.

Bennett had a serious heart condition and was on the brink of death when on January 7 he received a genetically modified pig heart. A few days after the pioneering cross-species transplant, he was able to sit up in bed, and his new organ was pumping and pumping like a “rock star,” Griffith said at the time.

About 40 days later, however, Bennett, who was 57 years old, deteriorated steadily and died a few weeks later. In a statement released by the American university, a spokesperson for the educational institution said that “there was no obvious cause identified at the time of death” and that a full report would be published in a scientific journal.

At the time, Muhammad Mohiuddin, scientific director of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, expressed gratitude to Bennett “for his unique and historic role in helping to contribute a vast array of knowledge to the field of xenotransplantation.”

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