Australia-New Zealand kidney exchange program

from Market Design at on July 31, 2020 at 01:35PM

New Zealand and Australia are cooperating with cross-border, international kidney exchange.

The Australian has the story:
The chain gang

"Facilitated by the Organ and Tissue Authority, the Australian and New Zealand Paired Kidney Exchange (ANZKX) has now given 42 people new kidneys since that first operation late last year. While paired kidney exchange has happened in Australia since 2010, this is the first true international collaboration. Eleven chains of operations occurred before Covid-19 stalled things in March, but recruitment into the program continues and there are six surgeries planned in Australia for August.

"[Linda] Cantwell is the ­Australian Red Cross ANZKX tissue typing scientist. She’s gatekeeper to the matrix of matches needed to link up potential pairs. There are currently 150 donors and 128 potential recipients in the pool, but for some people only one donor in 10,000 might be suitable. A computer program called OrganMatch runs the algorithms based on each person’s unique antibody profile and tissue typing, and potential matches from up to 300,000 different chains are produced."

And here’s a related story from Australia’s Daily Telegraph:

Organ donation hit hard by COVID-19 global pandemic
by Jane Hansen

"The Australian and New Zealand Paired Kidney Exchange was suspended from March 6 and can only begin if and when travel restrictions lift.

"Deceased kidney and live kidney donor programs across Australia were also suspended from March 24 and only recommenced in May, blowing out waitlists.

"Liver, heart, lung, paediatric and multi-organ transplant programs have continued but are subject to case-by-case review by the National Transplantation and Donation Rapid Response Taskforce, which meets weekly to discuss the response to COVID-19, the Organ and Tissue Authority said.

"According to the latest figures for 2019, the families of 548 loved ones transformed the lives of 1444 Australians by agreeing to organ donation.

"In 2019, 1309 had the potential to be organ donors but just over half of those families agreed."