Pig Heart Used in Human Transplant was Infected with Animal Virus

Image copyright: University of Maryland School of Medicine/Reuters [via The New York Times]

The Facts

  • Traces of a porcine virus have been found in a patient who survived for two months after receiving a transplanted heart from a pig. Medical experts have speculated that the infection could have played a role in his death.

  • 57-yr-old David Bennett underwent the procedure in Jan. at the University of Maryland Medical Center. He was too ill to qualify for a human heart.

The Spin

Narrative A

The transplant was an outstanding development that may help tackle acute organ shortages around the world.

Narrative B

This experimental treatment is still riddled with ethical and safety concerns and should be viewed with apprehension.

Metaculus Prediction

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