Can pig-to-human organ transplants save lives?

Before we get into today’s subject, let me jog your memory back nearly 25 years. In January 1997, Dr Dhani Ram Baruah, a heart surgeon from Assam, transplanted pig organs into a 32-year-old patient with terminal heart disease. According to the surgeon, the patient, Purno Saikia, died seven days later.

The incident raised a storm that made the editorial pages of prestigious medical journals. The Lancet reported that a pig’s heart, lung and kidney had been transplanted. The British Medical Journal reported only a heart and lung transplant. Some reports only mention a heart transplantation. Just like in Akira Kurosawa’s …


Anirban Mahapatra

Anirban, a microbiologist by training, is the author of COVID-19: Separating Fact From Fiction.