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Virus found in pig heart used in human transplant


Researchers trying to learn what killed the first person to receive a heart transplant from a pig have discovered the organ harbored an animal virus but cannot yet say if it played any role in the man’s death.

A Maryland man, 57-year-old David Bennett Sr., died in March, two months after the groundbreaking experimental transplant. University of Maryland doctors said Thursday they found an unwelcome surprise — viral DNA inside the pig heart. They did not find signs that this bug, called porcine cytomegalovirus, was causing an active infection.

But a major worry about animal-to-human transplants is the risk that it could introduce new kinds of infections to people.



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