Infectious Disease

Data show most pregnant women with COVID-19 pass antibodies to neonates

April 26, 2022

1 min read

Source/Disclosures

sources:

Gabrielli L, et al. Abstract 03428. Presented at: European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases; April 23-26, 2022; Lisbon, Portugal (hybrid meeting).

Disclosures:
The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.

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LISBON, Portugal — Pregnant women with SARS-CoV-2 infection passed antibodies to newborns in most cases, although there were no cases of neonatal infection in a study presented here.

“However, the protection provided by these antibodies will gradually decrease over time and disappear within 100 days of birth in most cases,” Liliana Gabrielli, MD, a medical doctor affiliated with the University of Bologna in Italy, said in a press release from the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

Data derived from Gabrielli L, et al. Abstract 03428. Presented at: European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases; April 23-26, 2022; Lisbon, Portugal (hybrid meeting).

The findings add to existing research showing that antibodies are passed from infected mothers to newborns, although previous studies also have shown low transmission rates.

Gabrielli and colleagues enrolled 4,045 mothers admitted to three hospitals in Bologna, Italy, for delivery between July 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021. The researchers tested women for SARS-CoV-2 infection by nasopharyngeal reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT- PCR) swab and by serological tests, and tested newborns by nasopharyngeal RT-PCR. If mothers tested positive, they also tested their newborns through serological testing.

Overall, 136 mothers (3.4%) had SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, of whom 35 (26%) had both immunoglobulin (Ig) M and IgG antibodies and 101 (74%) had IgG but not IgM antibodies. Additionally, 26 women (19%) with antibodies had a positive nasopharyngeal RT-PCR test, and 13 (50%) of those had IgM antibodies at delivery, according to Gabrielli and colleagues.

There were data from 73 neonates born to mothers with positive serological tests, all of whom tested negative for IgM antibodies. Of these newborns, 62 (85%) were IgG positive, although their mothers’ serum IgG levels were significantly higher.

Moving forward, further research is already being done on mother-to-child transmission of antibodies, including in women who are vaccinated, Gabrielli said in the press release.

References:

  • Gabrielli L, et al. Abstract 03428. Presented at: European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases; April 23-26, 2022; Lisbon, Portugal (hybrid meeting).
  • Most women who catch COVID-19 when pregnant pass antibodies to their unborn babies. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/950557. Published April 24, 2022. Accessed April 24, 2022.

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Mary Jane Minkin, MD)

Mary Jane Minkin, MD

Gabrielli and the team from Bologna presented very clear documentation of the transmission of antibodies from SARS-CoV-2 infected women to their fetuses early in the pandemic in northern Italy, which was among the most affected areas in the world early on. Given the documentation of the transmission of IgG to the infants of infected mothers, they raised the question of how effective vaccines are in transmitting antibodies to the infants. Preliminary studies have confirmed transmission of vaccine-induced immunity in mothers to the fetus. Further studies on effectiveness are ongoing.

Mary Jane Minkin, MD

Clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Yale School of Medicine

Healio Women’s Health & OB/GYN Peer Perspective Board Member

Disclosures: Minkin reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

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