At 36 weeks pregnant, a South Florida frontline healthcare worker received her first injection of Moderna COVID-19. Three weeks later, she gave birth to a healthy girl with COVID-19 antibodies.
Doctors believe that the newborn marks the first known case of a baby born with antibodies to the coronavirus in the US, which may offer you some protection against the virus.
Dr. Paul Giblert and Dr. Chad Rudnick presented their findings in a pre-print study, which means it has not yet been peer-reviewed. They found that the antibodies were detected at the time of delivery, after testing the baby’s umbilical cord blood taken immediately after birth and before delivery from the placenta.
“We have shown that IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 are detectable in a newborn’s umbilical cord blood sample after a single dose of Modern COVID-19 vaccine,” they concluded. “Therefore, there is the potential for protection and reduction of the risk of Sars-CoV-2 infection with maternal vaccination.”
Doctors emphasize, however, that more research is needed toof the .
It was already known that mothers previously infected with COVID-19 can transmit antibodies to their newborns. In addition, the passage of antibodies from mother to baby through the placenta is well documented in other vaccines, including influenza, so doctors hoped that the same protection of the newborn would be possible after maternal vaccination against COVID-19.
“It really starts to align the COVID vaccine with the vaccines that we already use in pregnant women, like the flu vaccine,” said Dr. Neeta Ogden, an internal medicine specialist and immunologist. told CBSN On Wednesday. “We really need, and we clearly need, meaningful data on how safe it is in pregnant women.”
These early results may help pregnant women have more reasons to.
“This is also encouraging because it offers a level of protection to one of the most vulnerable populations, the newborn,” Ogden said, emphasizing the need for more studies in pregnant women during this pandemic.
Since we do not have the approved COVID vaccineshowever, he said, “if we can see this kind of safe maternal transmission of vaccine antibodies to newborns, I think it’s really a big step in the right direction.”
Other recent studies, also shared in preliminary version and not yet peer-reviewed, support the findings.
Massachusetts General Hospital recently studied 131 women (84 pregnant, 31 nursing, and 16 non-pregnant) who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. They found equally strong immune responses in pregnant and lactating women as the control group. Furthermore, the antibodies were present in the placenta and breast milk of each sample taken.
“Antibodies generated by the maternal vaccine were detected in the umbilical cord blood of the 10 babies who were born during our study period,” co-author Dr. Andrea Edlow, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at the Massachusetts General Hospital. “Our data suggest that receiving both injections of the mRNA vaccine leads to better transfer of antibodies to newborns.”
Another study conducted in Israel found antibodies in the 20 women tested who received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, both during the third trimester and in their newborns, also through placental transfer.
Last month, Pfizer announced that it had begun the first large-scale trial of its vaccine in pregnant women, which it expects to finish in early 2023. Its vaccine was approved for emergency use in the US In December, and millions of people, including thousands of pregnant women, have already taken it.
Moderna, whose vaccine also received emergency use authorization in the US in December, has not started pregnancy-focused trials, but has created a registry to track pregnant women receiving its vaccine. Johnson & Johnson, which received emergency use authorization for its vaccine last month, said it plans to include pregnant women and their babies in its studies, as well as collect data on pregnant women through a registry.
Pregnant women were excluded from the original trials of Moderna and Pfizer’s COVID-19 injections, a common practice in those studies.