Newborns Can Be Protected Through Breastfeeding By Moms Who’ve Had Covid

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According to a small study, moms who had given birth to babies when they were infected with the Covid-19 virus are stated to induce better immunity against the coronavirus through breastfeeding.

Breast milk has specific maternal antibodies, which help protect and develop the infants against different infections as their own immune system gets processed.

Newborns Can Be Protected Through Breastfeeding By Moms Who’ve Had Covid

The antibodies that get transferred from the mom to the baby provide “passive” immune protection, wherein the mother’s antibodies defend the baby from infection. In contrast, the baby’s immune system develops. This transfer can happen both by being in the womb or via breastfeeding.

Newborns Can Be Protected Through Breastfeeding By Moms Who’ve Had Covid

According to the latest study, the experts have found that breastfeeding after the mother has suffered from Covid-19 can help develop infants’ more significant and more “active” immune response. Health experts had observed that when the infant turned two months in age, their saliva possessed specific antibodies that directly challenged the SARS-CoV-2 “spike” protein.

Dr. Rita Carsetti, a senior researcher of Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital in Rome, Italy, said they have proven for the first time that a mother can also be the root cause to trigger an active immune response in newborns children through the conveyance of antigen-antibody immune-complexes. 

She also stated that those specific complexes are maternal antibodies on which the spike protein is bound. However, this research has not proved if those antibodies present in the saliva would provide more excellent protection if they encounter the Covid-19 virus.

According to Dr. Tina Tan, a professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University in Chicago and spokeswoman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, said that antibodies can help defend the baby against the coronavirus if it gets into the baby’s system through the baby’s eyes or nose. 

But she also stated that the best process for transferring antibodies to the baby is getting a Covid-19 vaccine when pregnant. This process would help the antibodies in crossing the placenta and reach the fetal blood of the baby. In the study conducted, mostly no infants had antibodies directed at the Covid-19 virus in their system.

At the beginning of the pandemic, no one had speculated if it was possible for mothers suffering from Covid-19 to transfer the virus to their babies through their breast milk. Research proved that this was not the case, and different guidelines motivated the mothers suffering from Covid-19 to start breastfeeding their baby while indulging in other safety precautions such as wearing masks.

The recently online published study on November 3 in JAMA Network Open included data from twenty-two newborn Children that took birth when their mothers were suffering from Covid-19 during the delivery. 

Out of all the participants, only one infant tested positive for the coronavirus just after dawn, while another tested positive a few days later.

Researchers found in studies that when the children turned two months in age, breastfeeding infants displayed antibodies against the spike protein of the Covid-19 virus in their saliva. The same was not the case for extensively formula-fed babies

The study is essential because this is the first step in demonstrating that breastfeeding helps stimulate an infant’s immune system to induce salivary antibodies against the coronavirus.

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