NYU surgeon transplants an engineered pig kidney into the outside of a brain-dead patient (Joe Carrotta/NYU Langone Health)

A virus may have dri­ven the death of the first pa­tient to re­ceive a ge­net­i­cal­ly mod­i­fied pig heart

Doc­tors may be clos­ing in on an an­swer for why the first hu­man trans­plant­ed with a ge­net­i­cal­ly mod­i­fied pig heart died last month, around 60 days af­ter the pro­ce­dure. If ac­cu­rate, it may amount to an un­forced er­ror at one of the most sen­si­tive mo­ments in mod­ern med­ical his­to­ry.

At a we­bi­nar last month, Bart­ley Grif­fith, the sur­geon who per­formed the pro­ce­dure, re­vealed that the heart pa­tient, 57-year-old David Ben­nett, was in­fect­ed with a pig virus called porcine cy­tomegalovirus, or pCMV.

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