Washington, February 23
The findings of a recent study suggested that antibodies that help protect against the COVID-19 virus are transferred from mothers to their babies in the womb.
This finding, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology ‘, adds growing evidence to suggest that pregnant women who generate protective antibodies after contracting the coronavirus often transmit part of that natural immunity to their fetuses. The findings also support the idea that vaccinating future mothers can also bring benefits to their newborns.
“Since we can now say that the antibodies that pregnant women produce against COVID-19 have been transmitted to their babies, we suspect that there is a good chance that they can transmit the antibodies that the body produces after being vaccinated as well.” said Dr. Yawei Jenny Yang, assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and senior author of the study.
Dr. Yang and her team analyzed blood samples from 88 women who gave birth at the New York-Presbyterian / Weill Cornell Medical Center between March and May 2020, a time when New York City was the global epicenter of the pandemic. All women had COVID-19 antibodies in their blood, indicating that they contracted the virus at some point, although 58 percent of these women had no symptoms.
In addition, although antibodies were detected in symptomatic and asymptomatic women, the researchers found that the concentration of antibodies was significantly higher in symptomatic women. They also found that the overall antibody response pattern was similar to the response seen in other patients, confirming that pregnant women have the same type of immune response to the virus as the larger patient population – something that was not known for certain since the woman’s immune system changes during pregnancy.
In addition, the vast majority of babies born to these women – 78 percent – had detectable antibodies in their umbilical cord blood. There was no evidence that any of the babies had been directly infected with the virus and all were COVID negative at birth, further indicating that antibodies had crossed the placenta – the organ that provides oxygen and nutrients to a growing baby during birth. pregnancy – in the fetal bloodstream. Newborns with symptomatic mothers also had higher levels of antibodies than those whose mothers had no symptoms of COVID.
These data imply that pregnant women can transmit antibodies generated by the vaccine in the same way, potentially protecting the mother and child from future infections. However, it is not yet known exactly how protective these antibodies can be, or how long this protection can last.
Dr. Laura Riley, president of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medicine, obstetrician and chief gynecologist at NewYork-Presbyterian / Weill Cornell, and one of the study’s co-authors, is still advising pregnant patients who decide to get vaccinated for continue to follow current safety guidelines to prevent the spread of the disease.
Dr. Riley, Dr. Yang and colleagues are conducting follow-up investigations that currently recruit pregnant women who receive the vaccine, as well as vaccinated mothers who are breastfeeding, to assess the antibody response in these groups after vaccination. This information can help guide maternal vaccination strategies in the future.
“The $ 1 million question is: will the group of women who are now being vaccinated have the same type of protection? We don’t know that yet, ”said Dr. Riley. “Getting those answers will be very important.” – ANI