New study: pregnant women transfer corona protection to their baby


The Standing Committee on Vaccination recommends corona vaccination for all pregnant women. For a study, researchers examined umbilical cord blood after birth to find out how babies are protected. The result: positive. Expectant parents usually have many worries. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has also been the fear of pregnant women becoming infected with Sars-CoV-2. How bad can the course of the disease be? And what effects can an infection have on the child? Can pregnant women get vaccinated? The important thing is: there is no reason to panic. Experts rate the absolute risk of a severe Covid-19 course in pregnant women as low, although it is higher than in other women of the same age. Nevertheless, data suggest that even with a mild course, corona infection increases the risk of complications during pregnancy, such as premature birth or preeclampsia, better known to many as pregnancy poisoning. Based on these data, German medical societies had already advocated in May that pregnant women be vaccinated against Covid after counseling, if they so choose. Benefits of vaccination outweigh risksHowever, the German Standing Commission on Vaccination (Stiko) has only recently begun promoting the idea of vaccinating expectant mothers against coronavirus from the second trimester of pregnancy. After evaluating data on the course of covid 19 infections in pregnant women and the safety of vaccination, the commission decided to recommend vaccination to all pregnant women. Previously, the Stiko had advocated vaccination of pregnant women only under certain circumstances and after medical consultation, such as when they were particularly at risk due to pre-existing conditions. Pregnant women therefore often had a hard time getting vaccinated, even if they wanted to be. Although data on potential risks of vaccination in pregnancy are still thin, experts say there is no evidence of adverse serious complications. The available data suggest that the benefits of vaccination for pregnant women outweigh the risks. But what about the child? So far, there is no evidence that vaccination harms the unborn child. On the contrary, experts believe that pregnant women pass on antibodies to the baby after a Covid 19 vaccination. A new study now provides further evidence that the newborn also benefits from the mother’s vaccination against Covid-19. Researchers at New York University Langone Health tested the umbilical cord blood of a total of 36 vaccinated women for the presence of antibodies after birth. All of the samples had a high antibody titer, meaning there were many antibodies in the blood, the researchers wrote in a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The immune system produces antibodies either in response to infection or after vaccination. The researchers, led by NYU Langone infectious disease specialist Jennifer L. Lighter, also tested some participants’ blood for specific antibodies that are produced only after an infection. These results were all negative, so none of the women had experienced a corona infection and the antibody titers measured were due to vaccination. Antibodies can protect in the first months of lifeThe study participants ranged in age from 26 to 46 years. All but one participant had received two shots of an mRNA vaccine before delivery. Most (30 women) had received their first vaccination in the second trimester of pregnancy, between the fourth and seventh months. There were approximately six to 25 weeks between the second and last vaccine doses and the birth of the children. According to the scientists, the fact that the umbilical cord blood of all the children showed a high antibody titer shows that the mothers pass on the antibodies they received through the vaccination to their children. Although such transfer of antibodies is known from other vaccinations, the study results underscore the importance of pregnant women receiving a vaccination, Lighter said, according to a university news release. “If babies could be born with antibodies, it could protect them in their first months of life, when they are particularly vulnerable,” said Ashley S. Roman, an obstetrician and professor at NYU Langone and also an author of the study. 


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