Welcome back, IU!
Jim Inman Photo: news.iu.edu
Indiana University classes resumed yesterday after the holiday break.
IU President Pamela Whitten says the semester will be a safe one for students, faculty and staff.
In her “Written by Whitten” blog, Whitten wrote that she, and IU, are “committed to doing everything possible to make this semester safe, gratifying, and enjoyable.”
She also encouraged readers to find COVID-19 testing on campuses and receive a vaccination or booster against the virus.
Whitten’s message did not mention mask-wearing, online classes or any changes in IU’s policies regarding COVID-19.
Indiana University has a policy that anyone inside a campus building needs to wear a mask. The policy has been a challenge at recent athletic events, as attendees have been photographed not wearing masks. Scott Dolson, vice president and director of intercollegiate activities, met with the Monroe County Health Department last month to address the concerns.
In a medical breakthrough, a man received a pig heart in a transplant surgery.
The man – David Bennett, age 57 – is a patient at the University of Maryland Medical Center. He received the heart of a genetically-modified pig late last week. As of Monday afternoon, Bennett was off the ventilator and being weaned off the heart/lung machine. He was alert and the heart was beating on its own.
Doctors are encouraged by the initial success, although it is still too soon to tell if the transplant will be successful long-term.
In a statement last week, Bennett said “It was either die or do this transplant… it’s my last choice.”
Animal-to-human transplants have rarely been successful over the years for various reasons. In the case of Bennett, the pig had undergone genetic-editing to remove a sugar from its cells that is responsible for hyper-fast organ donation. The pig was one-year-old and was bred specicially for the purpose of donating its heart for the transplant.
One of the most famous examples of an animal-to-human transplant was in 1984, when Baby Fae, an infant, received the heart of a baboon. The baby lived 21 days with the transplant.
According to USA Today, more than 100,000 people are waiting for an organ transplant. Approximately 6,000 people die each year waiting for the second chance at life.