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COVID-19 and solid organ transplant

News and resources for organ procurement organizations and transplant hospitals about COVID-19

Winter 2021 public comment is open Jan. 21 - Mar. 23

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Winter 2021 regional meetings will be virtual. Learn more.


Current state of organ donation and transplantation

This data visualization shows high-level data on transplants, deceased donors recovered, patients added to the waitlist and patients temporarily moved to inactive waitlist status*. It is updated daily. Find detailed and localized data through the preceding month in the OPTN website’s data section.

*A temporary inactivation means that the transplant program has determined that a candidate is temporarily unavailable or unsuitable for transplantation and should not receive organ offers. The transplant program may reactivate the candidate at any time.

Summary of Evidence on SARS-CoV-2 donor evaluation and testing

The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network has released a Summary of Evidence on SARS-CoV-2 donor evaluation and testing, as well as organ recovery from donors with a history of COVID-19. Compiled by the OPTN Ad Hoc Disease Transmission Advisory Committee (DTAC), the document includes the latest information known for minimizing the risk of donor-derived COVID-19 transmission while maximizing donor utilization.

View summary

The committee developed the summary in collaboration with colleagues representing AST, ASTS, AOPO, HRSA, and the CDC. This document contains information on the following:

  • SARS-CoV-2 deceased donor evaluation and testing
  • Recovery of organs from deceased donors with a history of resolved COVID-19
  • Recovery of organs from deceased donors with active COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2 living donor testing and other precautions to minimize the risk of donor-derived COVID-19
  • Recovery of organs from living donors with a history of resolved COVID-19

DTAC has committed to reviewing the document quarterly.

AST recommendations and guidance for organ donor testing
In response to inquiries regarding COVID-19, the American Society of Transplantation’s Infectious Disease Community of Practice has developed recommendations regarding organ donor testing. This guidance reflects the current state of knowledge and involves questions pertaining to screening and testing of living and deceased donors in the COVID era. Learn more here.
MPSC reviews

The OPTN Membership and Professional Standards Committee leadership has evaluated specific areas of monitoring that are raising particular concern within the community. In an effort to encourage transplant programs to use their clinical judgement about what is in the best interests of their patients without the added concern of strict compliance with OPTN obligations, the MPSC will implement several time-limited emergency changes to member monitoring. These include:

  • Suspending functional inactivity reviews
  • Placing temporary hold on reviews of patient notification of extended waiting list inactivity and transplant program inactivation

All updates to monitoring changes may be found in a supplement to the OPTN member evaluation plan on the OPTN compliance page.

View list of time-limited monitoring changes

This document serves as a quick-reference guide to all member monitoring changes implemented as a result of the pandemic. It will be regularly updated with any additional monitoring changes implemented during this event.

Site surveys

The period during which site surveys will be conducted virtually has been extended through Jan. 31, 2021. Any member who is not able to participate in a survey at this time can request a delay by emailing The MPSC and the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients will work together to make changes to the outcomes metrics that reflect the challenges of this unique environment. While we are determining how or whether to conduct reviews of this period, please continue to make the best clinical decisions regarding your donors and patients. We will provide updates as we have more specific information to share.

About MPSC and rationale for COVID-19 updates

The MPSC is a body of peers from within the donation and transplant community. It maintains membership criteria and monitors OPTN member compliance with OPTN membership criteria, OPTN bylaws and policies, and the OPTN Final Rule.

OPTN policies and requirements have not been suspended as a result of COVID-19. However, deviations from OPTN requirements will be evaluated in the context of the circumstances that have arisen due to this national crisis. The MPSC will look for a commitment to patient safety, stewardship of donated organs, and the rationale for the decisions that your transplant program or OPO make.

Reporting interruptions and issues

The OPTN is collecting information about challenges and issues created by the outbreak in order to evaluate further improvements or assistance that HHS, the OPTN and UNOS can provide. Please use the survey tool linked below to report interruptions or issues. Please note that the link works in the Google Chrome browser, but it does not work in Internet Explorer.

Report COVID-19 issues

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Organ procurement organizations

Organ matching guidance

To the extent practical, continue to follow the match run. If transportation systems become disrupted and an organ cannot be transported to a hospital on the match run, use the 861 bypass code and proceed to allocate as high on the match run as logistics allow. These decisions should be based on the availability of transportation options, not on DSA or regional boundaries.

Additional resources for organ procurement


COVID-19: Organ Donation and Transplant Town Hall International Webinar #4

Organ transplant organizations convened for a fourth town-hall style webinar to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on organ donation and transplant.

Recorded webinars: Effective practices and guidance

Members, you can now find COVID-19 webinars on UNOS Connect. Transplant and OPO professionals share effective practices related to organ recovery and transplantation during COVID-19. Available now:

  • COVID-19: Past, present and future OPO operations
  • Telemedicine, transplant and COVID-19: One transplant center’s experience
  • COVID-10: Past, present and future transplant center operations

Learn more

Previous webinars

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