Health: Organ donation also possible with corona infection

Because transmission is almost impossible with careful selection, organs from corona-positive donors can now also be transplanted.

Health: Organ donation also possible with corona infection

Because transmission is almost impossible with careful selection, organs from corona-positive donors can now also be transplanted. Since this has been possible, according to information from the German Press Agency, there have been 39 Sars-CoV-2 positive donors in Germany by the end of October.

114 organs were removed from them and transplanted into 113 recipients, as reported by the German Foundation for Organ Transplantation (DSO) at its annual congress in Frankfurt. "There was not a single transmission of a Sars-CoV-2 infection from the donor to the recipient," said DSO board member Axel Rahmel of the dpa.

The corona pandemic had made organ donation more difficult in Germany: After an organ transplant, the immune system is shut down, so it is important to prevent the virus from being transmitted from the donor to the recipient. Corona positives, contact persons of infected people and returnees from risk areas were excluded from organ donation.

Criteria relaxed in many countries

But then, according to the DSO, experiences from abroad showed that the risk of transmission was lower than feared, especially when the disease was mild. In many countries, the criteria were then relaxed. "In fact, so far only very few cases have become known in which there was a transmission from the donor to the recipient - and these only in connection with a lung transplant," said Rahmel.

In May 2022, the German Medical Association and the German Transplantation Society also adjusted the acceptance criteria for donors in Germany. Only organ donors with a severe course, whose organs are so damaged that they are no longer suitable for transplantation, are now excluded. According to Rahmel, "extreme restraint" still applies to lung transplants. The DSO annual congress takes place on Thursday and Friday. The latest donor figures should also be published at the same time. The numbers have plummeted lately.

Fewer donors

After the unexpected drop in organ donation numbers at the beginning of the year, the situation remains tense. As the German Foundation for Organ Transplantation (DSO) reported on Thursday, the number of organ donors is currently 8.4 percent lower than in the same period last year.

The DSO looks "with great concern" at the current situation, it said at the annual congress of the foundation in Frankfurt. By the end of October there were 710 organ donors nationwide. That was 65 fewer than in the same period last year.

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