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Patients wait-listed for and recipients of solid organ transplants (SOT) are perceived to have a higher risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2 and death; however, definitive epidemiological evidence is lacking. In a comprehensive national cohort study enabled by linkage of the UK transplant registry and Public Health England and NHS Digital Tracing services we examined the incidence of laboratory confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and subsequent mortality in patients on the active waiting list for a deceased donor SOT and recipients with a functioning SOT as of 1st February 2020 with follow up to 20th May 20202. Univariate and multivariable techniques were used to compare differences between groups and to control for case-mix. 197 (3·8%) of the 5,184 wait-listed patients and 597 (1·3%) of the 46,789 SOT recipients tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Mortality after testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 was 10·2% (20/197) for wait-listed patients and 25·8% (154/597) for SOT recipients. Increasing recipient age was the only variable independently associated with death after positive SARS-CoV-2 test. Of the 1004 transplants performed in 2020, 41 (4·1%) recipients have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 with 8 (0·8%) deaths reported by 20th May. These data provide evidence to support decisions on the risks and benefits of SOT during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Transplant

Publication Date