First baby born with antibodies to COVID
The first baby born with antibodies to COVID after his mother got his Moderna vaccine – here’s why it’s so important
Reassuring news for pregnant women and uncertain whether they should get the vaccine.
A frontline healthcare worker in South Florida received her first vaccine for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine when she was 36 weeks pregnant. Three weeks later, before receiving the second dose, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl who tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies. This news is important because it indicates that when a pregnant woman gets vaccinated, she can pass the protective antibodies to her newborn.
The case was documented in a preprint study (i.e. not yet peer-reviewed) by Paul Gilbert, MD, and Chad Rudnick MD, both of whom are associate professors at Florida Atlantic University. Antibodies were discovered immediately after the birth of the baby after blood analysis from the umbilical cord, and the antibodies were discovered again before the birth of the placenta, according to the study.
The authors write: “We have shown that SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies can be detected in a neonatal cord blood sample after only one dose of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.” “Thus, there is potential to protect and reduce the risk of infection from SARS-CoV-2 with vaccination to the mother.”
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The baby, whose birth month was not included in the study, is believed to be the first in the United States to be born with antibodies to the Coronavirus.
What are antibodies and why are they important?
“Antibodies are proteins that are synthesized by the immune system against something it sets out for external,” infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, chief scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Maryland, says Health.
Dr. Adalja explains that the antibodies cover pathogens (such as viruses), making it easier to remove them from the body. It also inhibits the pathogen’s ability to bind to receptors in cells – he adds that if it does not bind to these cells, it cannot infect the body. Antibodies also tend to stick to the body, which provides protection from reinfection with the same disease.
Scientists already knew that mothers infected with COVID-19 could pass the antibodies on to their babies. Other vaccines – including the influenza vaccine – are known to pass antibodies from mother to child through the placenta.
Related: Can Pregnant Women Get the COVID-19 Vaccine? Here’s everything we know so far
Does this mean that a pregnant woman should get the vaccine?
Getting the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant has been a huge talking point lately. Pregnant women have not actively participated in late clinical trials of any COVID-19 vaccine – including the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines currently available in the United States – so there is no clear picture of the safety and efficacy of vaccines during pregnancy. The authors of the prepress study stress the need for more research.
But last month, Pfizer announced that it had launched its first large-scale trial of a vaccine on pregnant women, which is expected to end by early 2023. Moderna has yet to initiate trials focused on pregnancy, but the company has created a registry to track pregnant women who get pregnant. Their shots. Johnson & Johnson said it plans to include pregnant women and their children in further studies, as well as collecting data on pregnant women via their own registry.
Meanwhile, the new study may give pregnant women some reassurance about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Other prepress studies support the results. Massachusetts General Hospital studied 131 women (84 pregnant, 31 lactating, and 16 non-pregnant), all of whom received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Pregnant and lactating women showed equally strong immune responses as the control group – and antibodies were identified in the placenta and breast milk for each sample taken.
Related: What is a Coronavirus Antibody Test – and Why is the Test Important
Another pre-print study from Hadassah Medical Center in Israel found a robust supply of antibodies to COVID-19 in 40 newborns whose mothers received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
“I’m sure there are many babies who are born with antibodies to COVID-19, and it’s all great news,” Rebecca C. Brightman, a gynecologist in New York City and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, reproductive medicine at Icahn College of Medicine at Mount Sinai, He tells health.
Dr. Brightman notes that the COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for pregnant women, as they are considered an at-risk group – and have patients who received the vaccine during pregnancy.
Dr. Brightman adds, “I encourage all of my patients and any woman with questions regarding vaccination during pregnancy to check the ACOG website for the most up-to-date information and advice.”.
The information in this story is accurate at the time of publication. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it is likely that some of the data has changed since publication. While Health tries to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed of news and recommendations to their communities using the CDC, WHO, and local Department of Public Health as resources.