Dr. Lilian Lam is a microbiologist, and received her transplant amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Dr. Alin Gragossian received her transplant just over a year ago, and is an emergency medicine resident at the frontlines in the fight against the outbreak.

Two heart transplant patients who are also medical professionals (microbiologist and emergency medicine resident) make the case for transplant patients as members of the vulnerable population in an exclusive article written for the National Foundation for Transplants.  Below is an abstract from their research.  Read their full article here.

Drs. Lam and Gragossian summarized the pandemic, “We are currently living in the midst of a global pandemic. At the end of 2019, a novel coronavirus was linked to a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China. Since then, Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has quickly spread throughout the world. It is infecting thousands of people globally on a daily basis and has already caused thousands of deaths.”

In their jointly released article, Lam and Gragossian stated, “Knowledge about the virus and best practices to manage the disease are evolving, but little is known about COVID-19 in the context of transplant patients. While most healthy people develop mild symptoms or even remain infectious carriers without symptoms, it is clear that the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness with COVID-19.

The people most vulnerable to COVID-19 are the elderly and those that are immunocompromised. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have identified organ transplant patients as among the at-risk immunocompromised population.  With a weakened immune system, the body is less able to fight off and recover from infections. Our immune responses become weaker as we age, and others may be immunocompromised due to chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, malnutrition, and other immune disorders.”

Both Lam and Gragossian are actively working in the midst of the pandemic by providing critical services to affected populations.  We wish them both well and are grateful for their service.

Access their full article here.

Lilian Lam completed her PhD in Microbiology & Immunology and MS in Medicine from Stanford University in 2015. As a research fellow at the University of Oxford, she investigates the interactions between microbes and the immune system, and whether these result in health or disease. Currently based in California, she received a heart transplant in February 2020.

Alin Gragossian is currently an Emergency Medicine resident physician at UPMC Pinnacle in Harrisburg, PA. She plans on continuing her medical training in Critical Care Medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City this summer. She received an urgent heart transplant at the University of Pennsylvania in January 2019 after a sudden illness.

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