A woman who waited for a new lease on life after receiving a double lung transplant never made it out of the hospital thanks to COVID-19, a virus that many believe was created in a lab. One of the major concerns about COVID-19 is that people can spread the disease without ever exhibiting a single symptom. Unfortunately, false-negative tests for COVID-19 are also not uncommon.
Oregon Live reports – Doctors say a woman in Michigan contracted COVID-19 and died last fall two months after receiving a tainted double-lung transplant from a donor who turned out to harbor the virus that causes the disease — despite showing no signs of illness and initially testing negative.
Officials at the University of Michigan Medical School suggested it may be the first proven case of COVID-19 in the U.S. in which the virus was transmitted via an organ transplant. A surgeon who handled the donor lungs was also infected with the virus and fell ill but later recovered.
The incident appears to be isolated — the only confirmed case among nearly 40,000 transplants in 2020. But it has led to calls for more thorough testing of lung transplant donors, with samples taken from deep within the donor lungs as well as the nose and throat, said Dr. Daniel Kaul, director of Michigan Medicine’s transplant infectious disease service.
Three days after the operation, however, the recipient spiked a fever; her blood pressure fell and her breathing became labored. Imaging showed signs of lung infection.
The Daily Mail reports – The donated lungs came from a woman from the Upper Midwest who died after suffering a severe brain injury in a car accident.
The donor’s lungs were then transplanted into a woman with chronic obstructive lung disease, known as COPD, at University Hospital in Ann Arbor.
Dr. Daniel Richard Kaul, director of the Transplant Infectious Disease Service at the University of Michigan Medical School, said nose and throat samples routinely collected from organ donors and recipients tested negative for COVID-19.
Doctors returned to samples from the transplant donor’s nose and throat, which had tested negative for COVID-19.
‘History obtained from family revealed no history of travel or any recent fever, cough, headache, or diarrhea,’ the study reads.
‘It is unknown if the donor had any recent exposures to persons known or suspected to be infected with SARS-CoV-2.’
Doctors then tested a sample of fluid taken from deep within the donated lungs before they were implanted, which later came back positive for the virus.
Researchers said that genetic screening revealed that ‘both the transplant recipient and the surgeon acquired SARS-CoV-2 from the donor lungs.’
The woman’s health quickly deteriorated and she was not considered a candidate for re-transplantation. Doctors said support was withdrawn and she died 61 days after the transplant.
Have you ever watched someone administer their own COVID-19 rapid test from inside their vehicle at a local pharmacy’s drive-thru window? The pharmacist sends the COVID testing kit out to the recipient, gives a quick tutorial on how to perform the test, and then waits for the patient to [hopefully] shove the swab far enough up their nasal passage (almost touching their brain) before inserting the swab (hopefully with clean hands) back into the test tube, where it’s sent back to the pharmacist who sends the swab out to a lab. These tests are hardly reliable, yet many Americans rely on them to return to work or to remain on the job. If hospitals are going to be transplanting organs, shouldn’t they have a foolproof way to test them before placing infected organs into vulnerable humans?