Pig heart transplant: the organ of the man, who has since died, was carrying a porcine virus

In a statement, the hospital said at the time that it had not identified “no cause” immediately upon his death. Now David Bennett’s surgeon, Bartley Griffith, seems to have found the key, however, as reported by the MIT Technology Review. On April 20, he revealed, in an online meeting, that the recipient’s heart was actually infected with a cytomegalovirus. Or in other words, a porcine virus.

For the latter, “if it’s an infection, we can probably prevent it in the future”, he insisted. Indeed, during a transplant from an animal to a human, genes are added or removed in the chosen organs in order to avoid any rejection for the recipient. In the case of David Bennett, the pig’s heart had thus undergone ten genetic modifications.

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