covid organ transplant

Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)

A woman needed a double lung transplant. Then, she caught COVID from the new organs and died

The woman who received the organs originally tested negative. So did the person who donated the lungs.


Phil West


Published Feb 24, 2021

From our friends at Nautilus:

A woman who received a double lung transplant in October 2020 exhibited severe symptoms of COVID-19 within three days of surgery. She tested negative for coronavirus via nasal swab, but then doctors determined the origin of what turned out to be an ultimately fatal COVID-19 infection: The donor lungs from her organ transplant. 

The case, detailed in an article published in the American Journal of Transplantation on Feb. 10, highlights a worst-case scenario as well as “a novel new path for the virus”—though the doctor who oversaw the case emphasizes that there’s a low chance for transmission through this unusual route. 

The Washington Post quoted the journal article’s author, Dr. Daniel Kaul, noting, “This is at least the first proven case of transmission of COVID-19 via organ transplantation in the United States.”

Read the rest of the Nautilus story here.

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*First Published: Feb 24, 2021, 4:11 pm CST