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Pregnant women 'can pass on Covid-19 antibodies to their babies'

Cover Media logo Cover Media 23/2/2021
a person sitting on a bed © Provided by Cover Media

Pregnant women can pass on Covid-19 antibodies to their babies, a new study has found.

Researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian said their findings contributed to growing evidence that expectant mothers transfer virus immunity to their babies while in the womb.

The scientists also suggested that vaccinating pregnant women could have positive effects on their newborns.

The team analysed blood samples from more than 80 women between March and May 2020, all of whom were found to have Covid-19 antibodies in their blood, indicating that they had contracted the virus at some point.

And the 78 per cent of babies born to the expectant women had detectable antibodies in their umbilical cord blood.

Researchers found that there was no evidence any of the newborns had been directly infected with the virus and all had negative Covid tests at the time of birth, demonstrating that the antibodies had crossed the placenta into the foetal bloodstream.

Another discovery was that mothers who had symptoms of Covid before testing positive had higher antibody levels than those mothers who showed no Covid symptoms.

"Since we can now say that the antibodies pregnant women make against Covid-19 have been shown to be passed down to their babies, we suspect that there's a good chance they could pass down the antibodies the body makes after being vaccinated as well," senior study author Dr. Yawei Jenny Yang explained.

However it is not yet known exactly how protective these antibodies might be, or how long that protection might last.

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