A new study has concluded that pregnant women infected with the Coronavirus may be able to give protective antibodies to their unborn babies.
And researchers in Philadelphia found that antibodies to “Covid-19” can transfer to the fetus’ placenta if the mother becomes infected with the virus during pregnancy.
The results are a good sign for the potential parents involved, but the researchers say they are unable to confirm with certainty that the newborn of an infected mother is “completely safe” from “Covid-19” because the science is still developing.
The study looked for antibodies in maternal blood samples as well as umbilical cord blood, from the placenta and the umbilical cord associated with it, immediately after labor.
And cord blood is an accurate reflection of a newborn’s blood at birth.
83 of the 1,471 women in the study, which lasted between April 9 and August 8, were infected with the Coronavirus, and antibodies were found in the cord blood of 72 (87%) of their children.
Eleven babies born to mothers with “Covid-19” were tested and did not have negative antibodies to the virus.
“In this group study, maternal antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 were transported through the placenta after infection without symptoms as well as symptoms during pregnancy,” the researchers wrote in their study, published in the journal JAMA Paediatrics.
The researchers also found that the child inherits more antibodies if the mother has a large number of antibodies, while a mother with only a few immune cells will transmit fewer antibodies to her child.
“This finding should be placed in the context of the fact that SARS-CoV-2 is a new virus,” said Dr. Karen Popolo of the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. Therefore, the time between a mother’s exposure to the virus and childbirth was not more than three to four months in our study. “Cases, the time was shorter than that, but there must also be sufficient time between the mother’s infection and the birth of the mother to make the type of antibody that crosses the placenta, and for this transit to occur.”
She added: “We found that if the period between the mother’s exposure to the virus and childbirth is two to three weeks at least, then we can detect antibodies in the newborn.”
Thus, “the longer the time between infection of the mother and childbirth, the greater the transfer of antibodies.” This link was proven whether the mother had symptoms of “Covid-19” or remained without symptoms during her infection.
The researchers said that their findings support the ability of maternal-derived antibodies to provide protection for newborns from coronavirus infection.
“Our results mean that maternal antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 can efficiently cross the placenta, and therefore our results demonstrate the potential for such maternal-derived antibodies to provide protection for the newborn from SARS-CoV-2 infection,” said Dr. Popolo.
And she continued, “Nothing in our work should change the way we currently care for pregnant women and newborns. Our work cannot tell a woman that her newborn is completely safe from Covid-19.”
There is still work to be done to determine the levels and types of antibodies that protect newborns from SARS-CoV-2 infection, and how long these antibodies remain in the newborn’s circulation