MANILA - A woman from the United States died in what appears to be the first case of donor-to-recipient transmission of the SARS-CoV-2, according to a report quoting a study published this month.
The recipient, a chronic obstructive lung disease patient at the University Hospital in Ann Arbor, passed away due to respiratory problems post-surgery, HuffPost reported. The patient tested negative for COVID-19 several hours before the transplant procedure, it added.
Citing the study published by the American Journal of Transplantation, HuffPost reported the donated lung appears to have been infected by the virus even though the donor tested negative and showed no signs of illness.
“We would absolutely not have used the lungs if we’d had a positive COVID test. All the screening that we normally do and are able to do, we did,” the study’s co author, Dr. Daniel Kaul, director of Michigan Medicine’s transplant infectious disease service, said.
While the transplant patient's nose and throat samples came back negative, her lower respiratory sample was positive for COVID-19.
The donor, who died after suffering severe brain injury due to a car accident, also tested negative for the virus, based on throat and nose samples collected from her. Her sample saved from the lower respiratory tract however came out positive.
Aside from the organ recipient, the surgeon who performed the lung transplant tested positive for COVID-19, four days after the surgery. He later recovered, the report said.
The report said that genetic screening done showed that the transplant recipient and the surgeon were extremely likely to have been infected by the donor lungs.
Health workers have since been urged to wear N95 masks and eye protection even if donors and recipients tested negative for the virus.
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