Gene-edited pig heart that was transplanted into an American patient this year was infected with porcine virus, which ultimately led to his death two months later.
David Bennett Sr was alraedy near his death when he received the heart transplant in January, which was hailed as a success intially as the first inter-species transplant.
According to Bartley Griffith of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the transplant surgeon, the patient’s heart was performing like a “rock star” a few days after the surgery.
Just 40 days later, Bennet was feeling worse and another month later he succumbed to the virus. The MIT Technology Review learnt that the transplanted heart was infected with porcine cytomegalovirus, which is a preventable infection that can have “devastating” effects on transplants. Specialists are now deliberating if the presence of the virus could be the cause of Bennet’s death.
Griffith believes that the virus “could be the actor, that set this whole thing off.” It seems that the experiment of xenotransplantation failed compromised due to unforced error since the pigs were supposed to be raised virus-free to be able to provide organs.