The Course of SARS-CoV-2 in a Patient After a Recent Kidney Transplant: A Literature Review on COVID-19 Therapy

Transplant Proc. 2021 Mar 15;S0041-1345(21)00196-2. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2021.03.008. Online ahead of print.


Background: Kidney transplant recipients are at high risk of severe complications and death due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Methods: The first part of the article describes a case of COVID-19 in our patient after a recent kidney transplant. The second part of the article presents the outcome of literature search from multiple resources from April 2020 until March 2021. Abstracts were screened, followed by full-text review with data extraction. Part 2 discusses current treatment options of COVID-19, and part 3 refers to this treatment application in patients after solid organ transplant.

Results: We have summarized 45 studies from China, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Mortality rates from published studies were variable. Based on early data from Spain, 42% of patients who developed COVID-19 within 60 days of transplant died. According to results of the European Renal Association COVID-19 Database collaboration group, the 28-day COVID-19-related mortality is 21.3% for kidney transplant recipients, which is still markedly higher than what is observed in other populations. Acute kidney injury was common, and mycophenolate mofetil and mammalian target of rapamycin were discontinued in most patients.

Conclusions: Effective therapy has been sought since the outbreak of the pandemic, and at the same time intensive work has been done to produce a vaccine that could effectively protect against the disease. Summing up the efforts of numerous groups of researchers from around the world that have been continued since the beginning of 2020, we may assume the following: (1) we still do not have causal drugs that would reduce severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) replication and allow its complete elimination, but antispike monoclonal antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 seem to be very promising, and (2) the withdrawal of antiproliferative and antimetabolic drugs and the continuation of steroids and calcineurin inhibitors is now a commonly accepted approach in patients after organ transplant.