Singapore studies COVID-19 pregnancy puzzle after baby born with antibodies

By Aradhana Aravindan and John Geddie

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© Thomson Reuters 2020.

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It is not exactly an unexplainable mystery. The virus may have infected also the baby but was cleared as usual, antibodies from the mother are produced for much longer time and can be passed through the placenta or breastfeeding so they are much more likely to be found on the baby.

The really important information is about the risk of malformations or losing the pregnancy, if this happens (or if mothers are at a higher risk of complications because of the changes in immunity during the pregnancy) then it a bigger effort should be made to protect expecting mothers. If not, that would bring a much necessary peace of mind to them.

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The last paragraph seems to imply that the lack of infections is across the board. I wish the article mentioned the age of the mother and the severity of her case. Encouraging news though...

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The link above is to an article that explains that antibodies passed to a baby from the mother are the norm, but tend to last for a few months. From other articles that I have read, I gather that almost all immunities passed by the mother are lost by the baby by the time he or she reaches six months of age. Regarding Covid-19, if the antibodies in the babies were in fact produced by the mother's immune system, then it might be expected that they would become ineffective after a few months.

The link immediately above is to an English language study from China done early in 2020. The study found that in the small group observed, all the babies born to mothers who had Covid-19 tested positive for the coronavirus, but none of them displayed symptoms. The authors state that the test sample is small, because they had no choice. Perhaps by now more comprehensive studies have been done.

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A good artical, very informative and interesting.

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What you expect, the baby was connected to the mother, through the placenta duh

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The virus may have infected also the baby but was cleared as usual

Virusex, how can you say such things with certainty? "The researchers do not know if this is true or not but you come off like you know the answer already. I cannot accept your conclusion. The research on this is too new and nobody really knows yet.

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There is conjecture that antibodies may be passed to a baby through the mother's milk, and not just during the placental stage of pregnancy. If this is in fact the case, and if, as in "primitive" cultures, the baby suckles for years rather than weeks or months, then it is possible that some babies will derive the benefits of the mother's immune system longer than just a few weeks or months. It seems to me that this is a topic that deserves further study, as the potential for significant health improvements to babies is obvious.

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Virusex, how can you say such things with certainty? 

Do you know the meaning when people say "may have..."

There is no certainty, precisely because nobody knows is that this specific possibility has not been ruled out. It is also perfectly possible the virus cannot cross the placental barrier, but if it does, there was more than enough time for it to be cleared. In any of both cases the point is that no higher incidence of malformations have been observed, so whether the baby was infected or not in utero at the end it has no practical importance, in both cases the antibodies belong to the mother and were passed to the baby by the placenta or breastfeeding, as it happens in many other infectious diseases.

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