Antibodies against COVID-19 can be transferred to babies


Information published last Friday (29/01) in the journal JAMA Pediatrics suggests that people infected with the new coronavirus during pregnancy may generate natural immunity for their babies, transferring it through the placenta.

In addition, the earlier the contamination occurs, the greater the amount of antibodies present in babies, according to the research. This possibly reveals the ideal time for vaccine administration, since the substances would offer more benefits to babies; when applied in the early stages of pregnancy.

Scott E. Hensley, associate professor of microbiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and a leading author of the study, told The New York Times that the findings are quite consistent with what is known about the behavior of the human organism in other viruses.

In any case, the analysis of approaches related to immunization programs still needs to be concluded, according to Hensley.

Extending protection

More than 1,500 patients who gave birth at the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia between April and August last year underwent tests, and 83 had antibodies against covid-19. Of that amount, 72 babies also tested positive for the presence of immunity, regardless of whether the people who generated them had symptoms.

What’s more, half of the children had levels of antibodies as high as or even higher than those found in the blood of the organisms in which they grew up. A quarter of the samples even had a concentration of 1.5 to 2 times higher than the “original”. “This is very efficient,” said Karen Puopolo, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania and one of the study’s senior authors.

The antibodies that crossed the placenta were precisely those that are believed to offer long-term protection, those of immunoglobulin G, or IgG, generated days after infection. Those related to immunoglobulin M, or IgM, in turn, detected after an infection, were absent in all samples, that is, the babies would not have been sick.


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