Singaporean woman gives birth to baby with covid-19 antibodies
London, Nov. 30, 2020 (AltAfrica)-A Singaporean woman, who was infected with Covid-19 in March when she was pregnant, has given birth to a baby with antibodies against the virus, offering a new clue as to whether the infection can be transferred from mother to child.
The baby was born this month without Covid-19, but with the virus antibodies, the Straits Times newspaper reported on Sunday, citing the mother.
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“My doctor suspects I have transferred my Covid-19 antibodies to him during my pregnancy,” Celine Ng-Chan told the paper.
Ng-Chan had been mildly ill from the disease and was discharged from hospital after two-and-a-half weeks, the Straits Times said.
Ng-Chan and the National University Hospital (NUH), where she gave birth, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it is not yet known whether a pregnant woman with Covid-19 can pass the virus to her foetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery.
To date, the active virus has not been found in samples of fluid around the baby in the womb or in breast milk.
Doctors in China have reported the detection and decline over time of Covid-19 antibodies in babies born to women with the coronavirus disease, according to an article published in October in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Transmission of the new coronavirus from mothers to newborns is rare, doctors from New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center reported in October in JAMA Pediatrics.
Even as the case is reported, WHO notes that there is no evidence that pregnant women can transmit Covid-19 to newborns during delivery and breastfeeding.
However, research is ongoing to understand the disease in pregnant women.
But, due to changes in their bodies and immune systems, WHO advises pregnant women to take precautions to protect themselves against Covid-19, and report possible symptoms such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.
In addition, they are required to regularly wash their hands with soap and running water or an alcohol-based hand rub, besides observing physical distancing
The global health organisation further advises pregnant women to avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
“All pregnant women, including those with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 infections, have the right to high-quality care before, during and after childbirth. This includes antenatal, newborn, postnatal intrapartum and mental health care,” states WHO in a question-answer session published on March 18.