A study carried out in pregnant women who were admitted to Boston Hospitals revealed that pregnant women infected with SARS-CoV-2 are unlikely to pass the infection to their newborns. The study included 127 pregnant women and 64 women amongst them had tested COVID-19 positive. Among those who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in the study, 36% were asymptomatic, 34% had mild disease, 11% had moderate disease, 16% had severe disease, and 3% had critical disease.
The researchers found that the pregnant women who were SARS-CoV-2 positive had detectable levels of virus in respiratory fluids like saliva, nasal and throat secretions, but no virus in the bloodstream or the placenta. Among the 64 pregnant women who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, no newborns tested positive for the virus. Researchers did not find significant differences between levels of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies produced by pregnant and non-pregnant women.
Low transfer of these antibodies was observed regardless of the woman’s severity of COVID-19 or whether she had an underlying health condition, such as obesity, high blood pressure or diabetes. The study also revealed that while the placenta expresses major molecules used by SARS-CoV-2 to cause infection — the ACE2 receptor and the TMPRSS2 enzyme — the two molecules are rarely expressed together in the same location, which may help explain why the virus only rarely affects the placenta.
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