Medical science breakthroughs of 2022: ALS, diabetes, COVID

When COVID-19 hit the US, everything was ready. The country’s brightest scientific minds have dropped whatever they were doing to join the effort against SARS-CoV-2, developing new vaccines and treatments in record time.

In 2022, researchers had time to resume projects that were forced to pause, and USA TODAY’s healthcare team spent the year reporting on new procedures, medical breakthroughs, and advances in disease prevention and treatment.

Some highlights include: Scientists have completed the map of our DNA. The FDA has approved the first new ALS drug in five years. And we have achieved important milestones in organ transplantation.

Below, read about some of the biggest medical breakthroughs of 2022, plus a preview of what’s in store for 2023.

CLIMATE WINS:Scientists achieve major advances in fusion energy

The first pig-to-human heart transplant

In January, David Bennett Sr., 57, became the first patient to undergo a heart transplant using a pig heart. During the nine-hour surgery, doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center replaced his heart with that of a 240-pound pig that was genetically engineered and bred specifically for this purpose.

The procedure was initially considered a success, but Bennett died two months later. Doctors said his death may have been partly due to a virus contracted from the heart of a pig, called pig cytomegalovirus or CMV.

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