Surgeons successfully transplanted kidneys from a genetically modified pig into a 57-year-old brain-dead patient's abdomen, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Alabama, Greece, and Washington.
- Alabama: Surgeons at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) on Thursday announced that they had successfully transplanted kidneys from a genetically modified pig into a 57-year-old brain-dead man. The transplant was reported in The American Journal of Transplantation—marking the first time a pig-to-human transplant has been detailed in a peer-reviewed medical journal. According to the surgical team, the transplanted kidneys started making urine after roughly 23 minutes and continued to do so for about three days. According to the surgeons, the patient showed no signs of rejecting the pig organs. "Our goal is not to have a one-off, but to advance the field to help our patients," said Jayme Locke, the lead surgeon, who is director of UAB's Incompatible Kidney Transplant Program. "What a wonderful day it will be when I can walk into clinic and know I have a kidney for everyone waiting to see me." (Rabin, New York Times, 1/20)
- Greece: The Greek government on Monday announced a Covid-19 vaccine mandate for all individuals 60 and older. In January, individuals who have not been vaccinated will be faced with fines of around $57, followed by a monthly fine of around $114 if they decide to remain unvaccinated, Axios reports. According to Greek health minister Thanos Plevris, the fines will be collected through taxes and will help fund government hospitals. Currently, Greece has recorded a total of 1,679,705 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 22,087 deaths. So far, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, 18,386,304 vaccine doses have been administered, and approximately two-thirds of the Greek population has been fully vaccinated. (Gonzalez, Axios, 1/17)
- Washington: Starbucks on Tuesday announced that it would not move forward with plans to require its U.S. workers to get the Covid-19 vaccine or submit to weekly testing—a decision that came in response to the Supreme Court's ruling to block the Biden administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers. According to Starbucks COO John Culver, the company will continue to encourage employees to report their vaccination status and get vaccinated and boosted against the coronavirus. "We respect the court's ruling," Culver said. "Thank you to the more than 90% of partners who have already disclosed their vaccination status, and to the vast majority who are now fully vaccinated." (Saric, Axios, 1/19)