A woman who became ill just days after lung transplant surgery and eventually passed away from COVID-19 had reportedly gotten coronavirus from the organ donor’s infected lungs.
The Washington Post reported that Director of Michigan Medicine’s transplant infectious-disease service Daniel “Kaul’s discovery was published in a peer-reviewed paper by the American Journal of Transplantation earlier this month.”
“This is at least the first proven case of transmission of Covid-19 via organ transplantation in the United States,” Kaul informed the outlet.
While a nasal swab test for the illness returned a negative result, a fluid sample from the ill woman’s lungs returned a positive result.
“I was seeing the patient and I was very concerned that this could have come from the donor because it would be really unusual that it would be down deep in the lungs but not in the upper respiratory tract [nose and throat],” Kaul informed the outlet.
A test of fluid obtained from the donor’s lungs amid procurement was positive, according to the Post.
“That said: These lungs were infected,” Kaul said. “These lungs had Covid in them before they got into the recipient.”
A surgeon who had contact with the lungs also exhibited symptoms and eventually tested positive for the illness, though he did not need to be hospitalized and made a recovery.
Sequencing was performed which “showed that it was the same virus that spread from the donor, to the recipient, to the surgeon,” according to Kaul.
Kaul said that it is not known if additional organs could transmit coronavirus, the outlet reported.