A multicenter prospective study to define the natural history of BK viral infections in kidney transplantation

Michael E. Seifert, Roslyn B. Mannon, Anoma Nellore, Jo Anne Young, Alexander C. Wiseman, David J. Cohen, V. Ram Peddi, Daniel C. Brennan, Charity J. Morgan, Kalyani Peri, Inmaculada Aban, Richard J. Whitley, John W. Gnann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: BK polyomavirus (BKV) can cause permanent loss of allograft function due to BKV-associated nephropathy (BKVN) in kidney transplant recipients. Besides immunosuppression reduction, there are no consistently effective interventions for BKV infection. Study purpose was to define natural history of BKV infection, identify risk factors for BKV reactivation and BKVN in kidney transplant recipients, and inform the design/conduct of future clinical trials of BKV-targeted therapeutics. Methods: We conducted a multicenter prospective observational study of incident kidney transplant recipients at six U.S. transplant centers. Participants were monitored every 4 weeks for BKV reactivation and followed for up to 24 months post-transplant. We used regression models (logistic, survival, mixed models) to study relationships between BK viremia/BKVN, clinical characteristics, and allograft function. Results: We enrolled 335 participants. Fifty-eight (17%) developed BK viremia, 6 (2%) developed biopsy-proven BKVN, and 29 (9%) developed suspected/presumed BKVN (defined as BKV viral load > 10,000 copies/mL without biopsy). Male donor sex was associated with lower odds for BK viremia, whereas recipient Black race was associated with two-fold increased odds for BK viremia. Recipient female sex was associated with more rapid clearance of BK viremia. Persistent BK viremia/BKVN was associated with poorer allograft function by 24 months post-transplant. Conclusions: We identified multiple donor and recipient demographic factors associated with risk for BKV infection and poorer allograft function by 24 months post-transplant. This may help design future clinical trials of therapies to prevent or mitigate the deleterious impact of BKV reactivation on kidney transplant outcomes. (Figure presented.).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere14237
JournalTransplant Infectious Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2024


  • BK polyomavirus
  • BKV
  • BKV-associated nephropathy
  • BKVN
  • kindney
  • transplant recipients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation
  • Infectious Diseases


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