COVID Doesn’t Pass to Baby During Pregnancy
While finding lower than expected levels of protective antibodies in umbilical cord blood, the researchers found elevated levels of influenza antibodies, likely due to maternal flu vaccination, the study found.
In other viruses or vaccines, antibodies tend to be transferred at much higher levels, possibly for evolutionary reasons, as babies cannot develop their own antibodies until they are 6 months old, said Edlow.
The study was published on December 22 in the journal JAMA network open.
The new findings could have implications for how the new COVID vaccine may affect pregnancy, according to an editorial accompanying the study.
“I don’t think it’s definitive, but it raises unanswered questions about whether maternal antibodies from the COVID vaccination will help protect the baby as we see with, for example, the flu vaccine,” said editorial co-author Dr. Denise Jamieson. , director of the department of gynecology and obstetrics at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.
The results underscore the importance of making sure pregnant women are included in research, Jamieson said, as scientists need to better understand how drugs and vaccines work specifically in pregnant women.
“I think it’s a really exciting time. I think we now have the tools to end this pandemic. It’s going to take time, and in the meantime, pregnant women need to be vigilant and continue to protect themselves, but I am very optimistic knowing that pregnant women will have access to these [COVID] vaccines, ”Jamieson said.
Although children on the whole have milder illness when they contract COVID-19, infants are at higher risk of developing serious illness. Pregnant women are also at increased risk of serious illness.
In previous research, other viral infections and fevers during pregnancy were associated with an increased risk of certain neurodevelopmental problems in offspring, including autism, ADHD, anxiety and depression, noted Edlow.
The researchers hope to follow up with the women in this study and their children as part of future research.
“There could be longer-term and more subtle neurodevelopmental effects or other organ programming effects that could occur that are separated from birth defects or stillbirth or being born with COVID- 19, ”Edlow said. “There are potentially more subtle effects that will likely take us years to unravel.”
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