COVID-19 has put everybody at risk and many people have lost their lives to the virus. A unique case was reported in Michigan where a woman died in the last fall through an organ transplant. She had a double lung transplant from a donor who had the virus carried through the organ. The person was not showing any common signs of the disease and she was initially tested negative. This has shocked the medical world as nothing has ever happened like it ever before. University of Michigan Medical School claims that this was the first case ever reported through an organ transplant. The surgeon who had handled the transplant procedures was also infected with the virus but was recovered later. The case has been the first-ever transmission of coronavirus through a transplant.
Organ Transplant Kills Recipient Through COVID-Infected Lungs
Out of 40,000 transplants done in 2020, this was the first-ever case reported. The incident has brought more attention while testing the donors thoroughly. Samples will be taken deep from the lungs, nose, and throat from every donor.
The virus transmission occurred when the lungs of a woman who died in a car accident with a severe brain injury were transplanted in another woman with obstructive lung disease. A routine check was made by taking samples from the recipient and donor and the results were negative every time. Officials said that all the tests were done but nothing proved right. After the operation, there was a surge in fever for the recipient. Her blood pressure was very low and breathing was uneven and disrupted until the imaging showed lung infection signs. With the worsened condition through transplant, the recipient, later, had to deal with heart functioning problems and fell in shock. That’s when the samples from her new lungs turned out to be positive.
Things were suspicious and puzzling that the doctors had to check the previous samples of the donor again. A swab test from the nose and throat of the donor was sampled again but was found negative. Donors’ family said that their daughter had no travel history or symptoms of COVID-19. She had no known exposure to anyone with the disease. The results were tested positive when doctors tested the fluid that was used to clean the donor’s lungs. It was the surgeon and ten other members who were part of the surgery. The surgeon was tested positive after 4 days of the transplant but all other members were tested negative.
The health of the recipient was worsened rapidly and she developed organ failure. Doctors tried all the possible COVID-19 treatments and she was placed on the ECMO where life support was withdrawing. She battled for life, ended up dying after 61 days. This was a tragic incident and nothing was earlier reported of this sort.
Until this incident happened, nobody had thought about contracting the virus through an organ transplant. It is unclear that whether the heart, liver, and kidney can also transmit the virus. Officials said that transmitting COVID would not be probable for a non-lung donor.
Now that this incident has alarmed officials, every donor will have to undergo routine COVID19 checks with samples taken from the lower respiratory tract, nose, and throat. Areas, where the cases are high, will have thorough testing for the donors.