Pig-to-human organ center begins construction

Revivicor, the company behind a pig-to-human heart transplant in 2022, is building a research and development center in Christiansburg, Va., radio station WTOP reported May 15.

The new facility will house approximately 200 pigs that will live indoors in a 50,000-square-foot rectangular building. The facility, which aims to be "designated pathogen-free," is expected to be completed in 2024, according to the report. Once completed, employees will begin developing pig populations for experimental surgeries.

The organs harvested will be limited for the clinical development phase. The pig organs will be transported to Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland, both based in Baltimore, and New York City-based New York University for use in clinical research.

Pig hearts were transplanted into three people in 2022.

David Bennett, 57, of Maryland received the first pig heart in a historic procedure Jan. 7. Officials confirmed he died March 8. Cytomegalovirus, a common virus among pigs, may have been one of several factors in his death.

Meanwhile, a team at New York City-based NYU Langone Health transplanted two genetically engineered pig hearts into recently deceased humans to gather data on transplants between species and address a national organ shortage. Heart function was monitored for three days, with no signs of early rejection or the presence of cytomegalovirus detected in either organ.

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