(searched for: doi:10.3389/fped.2020.597699)
Published: 29 September 2022
Journal of Basic and Clinical Health Sciences, Volume 6, pp 798-804; https://doi.org/10.30621/jbachs.995224
Breastfeeding is considered the strongest postnatal bond between mother and baby and is the best source of nutrition that has implications for infant health and development. However, the global COVID-19 epidemic process and the lack of full understanding of vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2 have significantly reduced breastfeeding practice. The aim of this study is to investigate the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virus in the milk of lactating mothers with COVID-19 disease and to provide scientific evidence on whether breastfeeding will be safe. For this purpose, breast milk samples were collected from 60 women with COVID-19 in Şanlıurfa city of Turkey, and breast milk samples were tested for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA by RT-PCRs. As a result of the analysis, SARS-CoV-2 RNA was not detected in any breast milk. According to the results obtained in this study, it was concluded that there is no evidence of mother-to-child transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through breast milk and that mothers can safely breastfeed their children in this process. We think that it will be possible with more in-depth analyzes and comprehensive studies to fully understand whether the SARS-CoV-2 virus is transmitted to infants through breast milk.
Published: 1 June 2022
Journal: Nursing for Women's Health
Nursing for Women's Health, Volume 26, pp 234-241; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nwh.2022.03.010
Published: 12 April 2022
by IOS Press
Journal of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, Volume 15, pp 209-217; https://doi.org/10.3233/npm-210775
BACKGROUND: Perinatal practices such as breast-feeding, kangaroo mother care, rooming-in, and delayed cord clamping have varied by institution during the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of this systematic review was to examine the success of different practices in preventing viral transmission between SARS-CoV-2 positive mothers and their infants. METHODS: Electronic searches were performed in the Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, Cochrane Library, EBSCOhost CINAHL Plus, Web of Science, and Scopus databases. Studies involving pregnant or breastfeeding patients who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR were included. Infants tested within 48 hours of birth who had two tests before hospital discharge were included. Infants older than one week with a single test were also included. RESULTS: Twenty eight studies were included. In the aggregated data, among 190 breastfeeding infants, 22 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (11.5%), while 4 of 152 (2.63%) among bottle-fed (Fisher’s exact test p = 0.0006). The positivity rates for roomed in infants (20/103, 19.4%) were significantly higher than those isolated (5/300, 1.67%) (P < 0.0001). There was no significant difference in positivity rate among infants who received kangaroo care (25%vs 9%, p = 0.2170), or delayed cord clamping (3.62%vs 0.9%, p = 0.1116). CONCLUSIONS: Lack of robust studies involving large patient population does not allow meaningful conclusions from this systematic review. Aggregated data showed increased positivity rates of SARS-CoV-2 among infants who were breast fed and roomed-in. There were no differences in SARS-CoV-2 positivity rates in infants received skin to skin care or delayed cord clamping.
Published: 11 April 2022
Journal: International Breastfeeding Journal
International Breastfeeding Journal, Volume 17, pp 1-17; https://doi.org/10.1186/s13006-022-00465-w
Background: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread worldwide. The safety of breastfeeding of SARS-CoV-2-positive women has not yet reached a consensus among the scientific community, healthcare providers, experts in lactation care, health organizations and governments. This study was conducted to summarize the latest evidence about the safety of breastfeeding among suspected/confirmed infected mothers and to summarize the recommendations on breastfeeding during COVID-19 from different organizations. Methods: A comprehensive literature review of publications about the safety of breastfeeding among SARS-CoV-2-infected mothers was conducted. Scientific databases were searched up to 26 May 2021. The evidence was summarized into five perspectives according to a framework proposed by van de Perre et al. with certain modifications. Moreover, websites of different health organizations were visited to gather the recommendations for breastfeeding. Results: The current evidence demonstrated that the majority of infants breastfed by infected mothers were negative for SARS-CoV-2. Breast milk samples from suspected/infected mothers mainly demonstrated negative results in SARS-CoV-2 viral tests. There was insufficient evidence proving the infectivity of breast milk from infected mothers. Recent studies found other transmission modalities (e.g., milk containers, skin) associated with breastfeeding. Specific antibodies in the breast milk of infected mothers were also found, implying protective effects for their breastfed children. According to van de Perre’s criteria, the breast milk of infected mothers was unlikely to transmit SARS-CoV-2. Owing to the low quality of the current evidence, studies with a more robust design are needed to strengthen the conclusion regarding the safety of breastfeeding. Further studies to follow up the health status of infants who were directly breastfed by their suspected/infected mothers, to collect breast milk samples at multiple time points for viral tests and to examine specific antibodies in breast milk samples are warranted. Current recommendations on breastfeeding during COVID-19 from different organizations are controversial, while direct breastfeeding with contact precautions is generally suggested as the first choice for infected mothers. Conclusions: This review determined the safety of breastfeeding and identified the focus for further research during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recommendations on breastfeeding are suggested to be updated in a timely manner according to the latest evidence.
Published: 18 March 2022
Journal: Frontiers in Nutrition
Frontiers in Nutrition, Volume 9; https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2022.853576
Objective: To assess the impact of SARS-CoV-2 viral infection on the metataxonomic profile and its evolution during the first month of lactation.Methods: Milk samples from 37 women with full-term pregnancies and mild SARS-CoV-2 infection and from 63 controls, collected in the first and fifth postpartum weeks, have been analyzed. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was assessed by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) both in cases and controls. After DNA extraction, the V3-V4 hypervariable region of the gene 16S rRNA was amplified and sequenced using the MiSeq system of Illumina. Data were submitted for statistical and bioinformatics analyses after quality control.Results: All the 1st week and 5th week postpartum milk samples were negative for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Alpha diversity showed no differences between milk samples from the study and control group, and this condition was maintained along the observation time. Analysis of the beta-diversity also indicated that the study and control groups did not show distinct bacterial profiles. Staphyloccus and Streptococcus were the most abundant genera and the only ones that were detected in all the milk samples provided. Disease state (symptomatic or asymptomatic infection) did not affect the metataxonomic profile in breast milk.Conclusion: These results support that in the non-severe SARS-CoV-2 pregnant woman infection the structure of the bacterial population is preserved and does not negatively impact on the human milk microbiota.
Published: 17 February 2022
by S. Karger AG
Journal: Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism
Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, Volume 78, pp 17-25; https://doi.org/10.1159/000521349
Background: The current pandemic and the concerns of vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2 have contributed to increasing the rate of breastfeeding interruption. This tendency has been associated with negative effects on the well-being of lactating mothers and their infants. The aim of this review is to summarize the evidence on the strategies to support breastfeeding during the COVID-19 pandemic and on the safety of breastfeeding during a SARS-CoV-2 infection or after COVID-19 vaccination. Summary: Available data show that the lack of support of lactating mothers during the pandemic has contributed to breastfeeding cessation worldwide. However, a few strategies have been proposed to overcome this issue. The risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from infected mothers to their offspring is extremely low. Furthermore, vaccination of lactating mothers is not associated with side effects in their infants. Key Messages: Increasing effort should be made to support breastfeeding during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mothers who are able to take care of their offspring and to adopt basic hygiene measures should not interrupt breastfeeding during a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Vaccination of lactating mothers might further strengthen the protective effect of breastfeeding against infections.
Published: 19 January 2022
Journal: Pediatric Research
Pediatric Research, Volume 92, pp 1140-1145; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41390-021-01902-y
Background: Genomic RNA of severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been detected in the breast milk of lactating women, but its pathological significance has remained uncertain due to the small size of prior studies. Methods: Breast milk from 110 lactating women was analyzed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (285 samples) and viral culture (160 samples). Those containing SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA (vRNA) were examined for the presence of subgenomic RNA (sgRNA), a putative marker of infectivity. Results: Sixty-five women had a positive SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test, 9 had symptoms but negative diagnostic tests, and 36 symptomatic women were not tested. SARS-CoV-2 vRNA was detected in the milk of 7 (6%) women with either a confirmed infection or symptomatic illness, including 6 of 65 (9%) women with a positive SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test. Infectious virus was not detected in any culture and none had detectable sgRNA. In control experiments, infectious SARS-CoV-2 could be cultured after addition to breastmilk despite several freeze–thaw cycles, as it occurs in the storage and usage of human milk. Conclusions: SARS-CoV-2 RNA can be found infrequently in the breastmilk after recent infection, but we found no evidence that breastmilk contains an infectious virus or that breastfeeding represents a risk factor for transmission of infection to infants. Impact: This article goes beyond prior small studies to provide evidence that infectious SARS-CoV-2 is not present in the milk of lactating women with recent infection, even when SARS-CoV-2 RNA is detected. Recent SARS-CoV-2 infection or detection of its RNA in human milk is not a contraindication to breastfeeding.
Published: 28 November 2021
Journal: American Journal of Perinatology
American Journal of Perinatology; https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0041-1740177
Objective Novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a disease associated with atypical pneumonia caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first cases of COVID-19 were reported in Wuhan at the end of 2019. Transmission usually occurs via infected droplets and close personal contact; the possibility of vertical transmission is still under debate. This retrospective study aimed to analyze clinical characteristics of premature infants born to mothers with symptomatic COVID-19 disease. Study Design This case control study compared the clinical and laboratory data of 20 premature infants born to mothers infected with SARS-CoV-2 with sex and gestational age–matched historical controls. Results The median gestational age and birth weight in both groups were similar. Respiratory distress developed in 11 (55.5%) infants in study group and 19 (47.5%) infants in control group. Mechanical ventilation and endotracheal surfactant administration rates were similar. Median duration of hospitalization was 8.5 (2–76) days in study group and 12 days in historical controls. Real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction tests (RT-PCR) of nasopharyngeal swab samples for SARS-CoV-2 were found to be negative twice, in the first 24 hours and later at 24 to 48 hours of life. No neutropenia or thrombocytopenia was detected in the study group. Patent ductus arteriosus, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and necrotizing enterocolitis rates were similar between groups. No mortality was observed in both groups. Conclusion To the best of our knowledge, this is one of the few studies evaluating the clinical outcomes of premature infants born to SARS-CoV-2 infected mothers. There was no evidence of vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from symptomatic SARS-CoV-2-infected women to the neonate in our cohort. The neonatal outcomes also seem to be favorable with no mortality in preterm infants. Key Points
Published: 1 November 2021
Journal: Journal of Women's Health
Journal of Women's Health, Volume 30, pp 1546-1555; https://doi.org/10.1089/jwh.2020.8978
Objective: The outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) threatens a surging number of community groups within society, including women actively breastfeeding. Breastfeeding involves intimate behaviors, a major transmission route of SARS-CoV-2, and is integral to the close mother-baby relationship highly correlated with maternal psychological status. Materials and Methods: Twenty-three pregnant women and puerperae with either confirmed or suspected diagnoses of COVID-19 were enrolled in the study. The clinical characteristics and outcomes of the mothers and neonates were recorded. The presence of SARS-CoV-2, IgG, and IgM in breast milk, maternal blood, and infant blood, together with feeding patterns, was assessed within 1 month after delivery. Feeding patterns and maternal psychological status were also recorded in the second follow-up. Results: No positive detection of SARS-CoV-2 was found in neonates. All breast milk samples were negative for the detection of SARS-CoV-2. The presence of IgM for SARS-CoV-2 in breast milk was correlated with IgM presence in the maternal blood. The results of IgG detection for SARS-CoV-2 were negative in all breast milk samples. All infants were in a healthy condition in two follow-ups, and antibody tests for SARS-CoV-2 were negative. The rate of breast milk feeding increased during two follow-ups. All mothers receiving a second follow-up experienced negative psychological factors and status. Conclusions: Our findings support the feasibility of breastfeeding in women infected with SARS-CoV-2. The additional negative psychological status of mothers due to COVID-19 should also be considered during the puerperium period.
Published: 19 October 2021
European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Volume 267, pp 120-128; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejogrb.2021.10.007
The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
Nutrients, Volume 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13092972
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization (WHO). One major problem faced is whether breastfeeding by mothers infected with the virus is safe. The objective of this work is to study the impact that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can have on breastfeeding, and whether the virus or antibodies can be transmitted from mother to child through milk. We carried out a systematic review of studies focusing on the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on breastfeeding by mothers infected with the virus. The bibliographic search was done through Medline (Pubmed), MedlinePlus and Google Scholar. From 292 records, the title and summary of each were examined according to the criteria, and whether they meet the selection criteria was also analysed. A total of 30 articles are included, of which 26 deal with the study of RNA virus in breastmilk and its involvement in breastfeeding and four on the study of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in milk. Most studies have been conducted in China. Breastfeeding by mothers infected with SARS-CoV-2 is highly recommended for infants, if the health of the mother and the infant allow for it. Direct breastfeeding and maintaining appropriate protective measures should be encouraged. Should the mother’s health condition not permit direct breastfeeding, infants should be fed with pumped breastmilk or donor milk.
Published: 20 August 2021
Archives of Disease in Childhood: Fetal & Neonatal, Volume 107, pp 216-221; https://doi.org/10.1136/archdischild-2021-322463
Objectives: To develop and validate a specific protocol for SARS-CoV-2 detection in breast milk matrix and to determine the impact of maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection on the presence, concentration and persistence of specific SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.Design and patients: This is a prospective, multicentre longitudinal study (April–December 2020) in 60 mothers with SARS-CoV-2 infection and/or who have recovered from COVID-19. A control group of 13 women before the pandemic were also included.Setting: Seven health centres from different provinces in Spain.Main outcome measures: Presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in breast milk, targeting the N1 region of the nucleocapsid gene and the envelope (E) gene; presence and levels of SARS-CoV-2-specific immunoglobulins (Igs)—IgA, IgG and IgM—in breast milk samples from patients with COVID-19.Results: All breast milk samples showed negative results for presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. We observed high intraindividual and interindividual variability in the antibody response to the receptor-binding domain of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein for each of the three isotypes IgA, IgM and IgG. Main Protease (MPro) domain antibodies were also detected in milk. 82.9% (58 of 70) of milk samples were positive for at least one of the three antibody isotypes, with 52.9% of these positive for all three Igs. Positivity rate for IgA was relatively stable over time (65.2%–87.5%), whereas it raised continuously for IgG (from 47.8% for the first 10 days to 87.5% from day 41 up to day 206 post-PCR confirmation).Conclusions: Our study confirms the safety of breast feeding and highlights the relevance of virus-specific SARS-CoV-2 antibody transfer. This study provides crucial data to support official breastfeeding recommendations based on scientific evidence.Trial registration numberNCT04768244.
Published: 14 August 2021
Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Volume 42, pp 539-545; https://doi.org/10.1080/01443615.2021.1929112
Human milk is the best possible nutrition for infants, as it supplies them with nutrients, bioactive molecules as well as antibodies, which contribute to immune maturation, organ development, and healthy microbial colonisation. Few situations are considered definitive contraindications for breastfeeding. The disastrous Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic raised many health issues, including the safety of breastfeeding for infants born to affected mothers. To date relevant data are limited. This review will make an account of the published data so far, regarding the transmission risk of SARS-CoV-2 via human milk; it will also present the current feeding recommendations, issued by several international boards, though not always in agreement, for infants born to mothers suspected or positive for SARS-CoV-2. In most studies existing so far on women with COVID-19, the virus was not detected in breastmilk. Based on currently available data, it seems that breastfeeding and human milk are not contraindicated for infants born to mothers suspected or confirmed with COVID-19.
Published: 26 July 2021
Journal: Frontiers in Immunology
Frontiers in Immunology, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.720716
Objetive: To address the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 and the evolutionary profile of immune compounds in breastmilk of positive mothers according to time and disease state.Methods: Forty-five women with term pregnancies with confirmed non-severe SARS-CoV-2 infection (case group), and 96 SARS-CoV-2 negative women in identical conditions (control group) were approached, using consecutive sample. Weekly (1st to 5th week postpartum) reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in nasopharyngeal swabs (cases) and breastmilk (cases and controls) were obtained. Concentration of cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors in breastmilk (cases and controls) were determined at 1st and 5th week post-partum.Results: Thirty-seven (study group) and 45 (control group) women were enrolled. Symptomatic infection occurred in 56.8% of women in the study group (48% fever, 48% anosmia, 43% cough). SARS-CoV-2 RNA was not found in breastmilk samples. Concentrations of cytokines (IFN-γ, IL-1ra, IL-4, IL-6, IL-9, IL-13, and TNF-α) chemokines (eotaxin, IP-10, MIP-1α, and RANTES) and growth factors (FGF, GM-CSF, IL7, and PDGF-BB) were higher in breastmilk of the study compared with the control group at 1st week postpartum. Immune compounds concentrations decreased on time, particularly in the control group milk samples. Time of nasopharyngeal swab to become negative influenced the immune compound concentration pattern. Severity of disease (symptomatic or asymptomatic infection) did not affect the immunological profile in breast milk.Conclusions: This study confirms no viral RNA and a distinct immunological profile in breastmilk according to mother’s SARS-CoV-2 status. Additional studies should address whether these findings indicate efficient reaction against SARS-CoV-2 infection, which might be suitable to protect the recipient child.
Published: 28 June 2021
Journal: American Journal of Perinatology
American Journal of Perinatology, Volume 38, pp 1209-1216; https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0041-1731451
Objective There are limited published data on the transmission of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus from mothers to newborns through breastfeeding or from breast milk. The World Health Organization released guidelines encouraging mothers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to breastfeed as the benefits of breastfeeding outweighs the possible risk of transmission. The objective of this study was to determine if SARS-CoV-2 was present in the breast milk of lactating mothers who had a positive SARS-CoV-2 nasopharyngeal swab test prior to delivery, and the clinical outcomes for their newborns. Study Design This was a single-center, observational, prospective cohort study. Maternal–newborn dyads that delivered at New York University Langone Hospital Brooklyn with confirmed maternal SARS-CoV-2 positive screen test at the time of admission were recruited for the study. Breast milk samples were collected during postpartum hospitalization and tested for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 genes N1 and N2 by two-step reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Additionally, the clinical characteristics of the maternal newborn dyad, results of nasopharyngeal SARS-CoV-2 testing, and neonatal follow-up data were collected. Results A total of 19 mothers were included in the study and their infants who were all fed breast milk. Breast milk samples from 18 mothers tested negative for SARS-CoV-2, and 1 was positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. The infant who ingested the breast milk that tested positive had a negative nasopharyngeal test for SARS-CoV-2, and had a benign clinical course. There was no evidence of significant clinical infection during the hospital stay or from outpatient neonatal follow-up data for all the infants included in this study. Conclusion In a small cohort of SARS-CoV-2 positive lactating mothers giving birth at our institution, most of their breast milk samples (95%) contained no detectable virus, and there was no evidence of COVID-19 infection in their breast milk-fed neonates. Key Points
Published: 25 May 2021
Cytopathology, Volume 32, pp 766-770; https://doi.org/10.1111/cyt.12995
Objective Currently, it is thought that uterine cervix mucosal samples present a low risk of SARS-CoV-2 exposure. So far, there is no evidence of SARS-CoV-2 detection in Papanicolaou (Pap) smears. Nevertheless, clinicians could be exposed unaware to the coronavirus while performing and handling a Pap smear. We aimed to retrospectively evaluate the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in cervical liquid-based cytology (LBC) samples in women who tested positive for a nasopharyngeal COVID-19 PCR test. Methods From our laboratory database, we identified patients with data on a cervical cancer screening LBC sample paired with a positive nasopharyngeal COVID-19 PCR test. Relevant LBC samples taken within an incubation period of 14 days and post-onset RNA shedding interval of 25 days were subsequently tested for SARS-CoV-2 RNA using RT-PCR tests. Results The study group consisted of 102 women. Of those, 23 LBC samples were tested. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in one LBC sample from a 26-year-old asymptomatic woman taken six days before reporting headaches and knee arthralgia with a positive nasopharyngeal SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test. Conclusions It is possible to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA in cervical LBC samples at an early asymptomatic stage of COVID-19. In general, this finding is infrequent in asymptomatic women who tested SARS-CoV-2 positive within an incubation of 14 days and a post-onset RNA shedding period of 25 days. We fully support the current thinking that cervical LBC samples from asymptomatic women pose a low risk of SARS-CoV-2 exposure and can be handled in the frame of good microbiological practice and procedures.
Published: 25 May 2021
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18115668
In this context of COVID-19 pandemic, great interest has been aroused by the potential maternal transmission of SARS-CoV-2 by transplacental route, during delivery, and, subsequently, through breastfeeding. Some open questions still remain, especially regarding the possibility of finding viable SARS-CoV-2 in breast milk (BM), although this is not considered a worrying route of transmission. However, in BM, it was pointed out the presence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 and other bioactive components that could protect the infant from infection. The aim of our narrative review is to report and discuss the available literature on the detection of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in BM of COVID-19 positive mothers, and we discussed the unique existing study investigating BM of SARS-CoV-2 positive mothers through metabolomics, and the evidence regarding microbiomics BM variation in COVID-19. Moreover, we tried to correlate metabolomics and microbiomics findings in BM of positive mothers with potential effects on breastfed infants metabolism and health. To our knowledge, this is the first review summarizing the current knowledge on SARS-CoV-2 effects on BM, resuming both “conventional data” (antibodies) and “omics technologies” (metabolomics and microbiomics).
Published: 19 May 2021
Journal: Pediatric Clinics of North America
Pediatric Clinics of North America, Volume 68, pp 1055-1070; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pcl.2021.05.008
COVID-19 has afflicted the health of children and women across all age groups. Since the outbreak of the pandemic in December 2019, various epidemiologic, immunologic, clinical, and pharmaceutical studies have been conducted to understand its infectious characteristics, pathogenesis, and clinical profile. COVID-19 affects pregnant women more seriously than nonpregnant women, endangering the health of the newborn. Changes have been implemented to guidelines for antenatal care of pregnant women, delivery, and newborn care. We highlight the current trends of clinical care in pregnant women and newborns during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Published: 13 May 2021
Background During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, breastfeeding in women positive for SARS-CoV-2 was compromised due to contradictory data regarding potential viral transmission. However, growing evidence confirms the relevant role of breast milk in providing passive immunity by generating and transmitting specific antibodies against the virus. Thus, our study aimed to develop and validate a specific protocol to detect SARS-CoV-2 in breast milk matrix as well as to determine the impact of maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection on presence, concentration, and persistence of specific SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Study design/Methods A prospective multicenter longitudinal study in Spain was carried out from April to December 2020. A total of 60 mothers with SARS-CoV-2 infection and/or recovered from COVID-19 were included (n=52 PCR-diagnosed and n=8 seropositive). Data from maternal-infant clinical records and symptomatology were collected. A specific protocol was validated to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA in breast milk, targeting the N1 region of the nucleocapsid gene and the envelope (E) gene. Presence and levels of SARS-CoV-2 specific immunoglobulins (Igs) -IgA, IgG, and IgM-in breast milk samples from COVID-19 patients and from 13 women before the pandemic were also evaluated. Results All breast milk samples showed negative results for SARS-CoV-2 RNA presence. We observed high intra- and inter-individual variability in the antibody response to the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein for each of the three isotypes IgA, IgM and IgG. Protease domain (MPro) antibodies were also detected in milk. In general, 82.9 % of the milk samples were positive for at least one of the three antibody isotypes, being 52.86 % of those positive for all three Igs. Positivity rate for IgA was relatively stable over time (65.2 – 87.5 %), whereas it raised continuously for IgG (47.8 % the first ten days to 87.5 % from day 41 up to day 206 post-PCR confirmation). Conclusions Considering the lack of evidence for SARS-CoV-2 transmission through breast milk, our study confirms the safety of breastfeeding practices and highlights the relevance of virus-specific SARS-CoV-2 antibody transfer, that would provide passive immunity to breastfed infants and protect them against COVID-19 disease. This study provides crucial data to support official breastfeeding recommendations based on scientific evidence.
Pathogens, Volume 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10050540
The transmission of SARS-CoV-2 occurs by close contact with infected persons through droplets, the inhalation of infectious aerosols, and the exposure to contaminated surfaces. Previously, we determined the virus stability on different types of surfaces under indoor and seasonal climatic conditions. SARS-CoV-2 survived the longest on surfaces under winter conditions, followed by spring/fall and summer conditions, suggesting the seasonal pattern of stability on surfaces. However, under natural conditions, the virus is secreted in various biological fluids from infected humans. In this respect, it remains unclear how long the virus survives in various types of biological fluids. This study explores SARS-CoV-2 stability in virus-spiked human biological fluids under different environmental conditions by determining the virus half-life. The virus was stable for up to 21 days in nasal mucus, sputum, saliva, tear, urine, blood, and semen; it remained infectious significantly longer under winter and spring/fall conditions than under summer conditions. In contrast, the virus was only stable up to 24 h in feces and breast milk. These findings demonstrate the potential risk of infectious biological fluids in SARS-CoV-2 transmission and have implications for its seasonality.
Published: 8 April 2021
Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 occurs by close contact with infected persons through droplets, the inhalation of infectious aerosols and the exposure to contaminated surface. Previously, we determined the virus stability on different types of surfaces under indoor and seasonal climatic conditions. SARS-CoV-2 survived the longest on surfaces under winter conditions, followed by spring/fall and summer conditions, suggesting the seasonal pattern of stability on surfaces. However, under natural conditions, the virus is secreted in various biological fluids from infected humans. In this respect, it remains unclear how long the virus survives in various types of biological fluids. This study explored the SARS-CoV-2 stability in human biological fluids under different environmental conditions and estimated the half-life. The virus was stable for up to 21 days in nasal mucus, sputum, saliva, tear, urine, blood, and semen; it remained infectious significantly longer under winter and spring/fall conditions than under summer conditions. In contrast, the virus was only stable up to 24 hours in feces and breast milk. These findings demonstrate the potential risk of infectious biological fluids in SARS-CoV-2 transmission and have implications for its seasonality.
Published: 7 April 2021
Journal: Pediatric Research
Pediatric Research, Volume 91, pp 513-521; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41390-021-01477-8
The aim of this review was threefold: (a) to retrieve all SARS-CoV-2 evidences published by Italian neonatologists working in maternity centers and NICUs during the pandemic; (b) to summarize current evidence for the management of term and preterm infants with a SARS-CoV-2-related illness; and (c) to provide an update for dealing with the second wave of COVID-19 and discuss open questions. A review was conducted using MEDLINE/PubMed and the national COVID-19 registry of the Italian Society of Neonatology including citations from December 1, 2019 to October 28, 2020. Sixty-three articles were included. Collected data were divided into the following topics: (a) antenatal management, (b) management in delivery room, (c) postnatal management, (d) mother–baby dyad and breastfeeding management, (e) neonatal emergency transport system reorganization, (f) parents’ management and perspective during SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, and (g) future perspective. Evidences have evolved over the pandemic period and the current review can be useful in the management of the mother–neonate dyad during SARS-CoV-2 future waves. Italian neonatologists have played an active role in producing official guidelines and reporting data that have contributed to improve the care of neonates. A joint European action plan is mandatory to face COVID-19 in neonates with more awareness. Impact A joint European action plan is mandatory to face COVID-19 in neonates with more awareness. This review summarizes the available evidences from neonatal COVID-19 management in Italy analyzing all the published paper in this specific field of interest. The current review can be useful in the management of the mother–neonate dyad during the SARS-CoV-2 future waves.
Published: 7 April 2021
Background SARS-CoV-2 infections of infants and toddlers are usually mild but can result in life-threatening disease. SARS-CoV-2 RNA been detected in the breast milk of lactating women, but the potential role of breastfeeding in transmission to infants has remained uncertain. Methods Breast milk specimens were examined for the presence of the virus by RT-PCR and/or culture. Specimens that contained viral RNA (vRNA) were examined for the presence of subgenomic coronavirus RNA (sgRNA), a putative marker of infectivity. Culture methods were used to determine the thermal stability of SARS-CoV-2 in human milk. Results Breast milk samples from 110 women (65 confirmed with a SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test, 36 with symptoms but without tests, and 9 with symptoms but a negative SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test) were tested by RT-PCR (285 samples) and/or viral culture (160 samples). Although vRNA of SARS-CoV-2 was detected in the milk of 7 of 110 (6%) women with either a confirmed infection or symptomatic illness, and in 6 of 65 (9%) of women with a positive SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic test, virus was not detected in any culture. None of the 7 milk specimens with detectable vRNA contained sgRNA. Notably, when artificially added to human milk in control experiments, infectious SARS-CoV-2 could be cultured despite several freeze-thaw cycles, as occurs in the storage and usage of human milk. Conclusions SARS-CoV-2 RNA can be found infrequently in the breastmilk of women with recent infection, but we found no evidence that breastmilk contains infectious virus or that breastfeeding represents a risk factor for transmission of infection to infants. Key Points Question SARS-CoV-2 RNA has been detected in a small number of human milk samples collected from recently infected women. The role of breastfeeding in transmission of the virus to infants has remained uncertain due to the small number of specimens analyzed in any study published thus far. Findings In a total study group of 110 women, SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in milk from 6 of 65 women (9.2%) with recent confirmed infection. Neither infectious virus nor subgenomic RNA (a marker of virus infectivity) were detected in any of the samples. Meaning We found no evidence that infectious SARS-CoV-2 is present milk from recently infected women, even if SARS-CoV-2 PCR tests are positive, providing reassurance of the safety of breastfeeding.
Published: 14 March 2021
Journal: BMJ Global Health
BMJ Global Health, Volume 6; https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2020-004347
Introduction The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting health systems globally. Maternity care disruptions have been surveyed, but not those related to vulnerable small newborns. We aimed to survey reported disruptions to small and sick newborn care worldwide and undertake thematic analysis of healthcare providers’ experiences and proposed mitigation strategies. Methods Using a widely disseminated online survey in three languages, we reached out to neonatal healthcare providers. We collected data on COVID-19 preparedness, effects on health personnel and on newborn care services, including kangaroo mother care (KMC), as well as disruptors and solutions. Results We analysed 1120 responses from 62 countries, mainly low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Preparedness for COVID-19 was suboptimal in terms of guidelines and availability of personal protective equipment. One-third reported routine testing of all pregnant women, but 13% had no testing capacity at all. More than 85% of health personnel feared for their own health and 89% had increased stress. Newborn care practices were disrupted both due to reduced care-seeking and a compromised workforce. More than half reported that evidence-based interventions such as KMC were discontinued or discouraged. Separation of the mother–baby dyad was reported for both COVID-positive mothers (50%) and those with unknown status (16%). Follow-up care was disrupted primarily due to families’ fear of visiting hospitals (~73%). Conclusion Newborn care providers are stressed and there is lack clarity and guidelines regarding care of small newborns during the pandemic. There is an urgent need to protect life-saving interventions, such as KMC, threatened by the pandemic, and to be ready to recover and build back better.
Published: 15 February 2021
Eclinicalmedicine, Volume 33; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2021.100733
Background COVID-19 is disrupting health services for mothers and newborns, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Preterm newborns are particularly vulnerable. We undertook analyses of the benefits of kangaroo mother care (KMC) on survival among neonates weighing ≤2000 g compared with the risk of SARS-CoV-2 acquired from infected mothers/caregivers. Methods We modelled two scenarios over 12 months. Scenario 1 compared the survival benefits of KMC with universal coverage (99%) and mortality risk due to COVID-19. Scenario 2 estimated incremental deaths from reduced coverage and complete disruption of KMC. Projections were based on the most recent data for 127 LMICs (~90% of global births), with results aggregated into five regions. Findings Our worst-case scenario (100% transmission) could result in 1,950 neonatal deaths from COVID-19. Conversely, 125,680 neonatal lives could be saved with universal KMC coverage. Hence, the benefit of KMC is 65-fold higher than the mortality risk of COVID-19. If recent evidence of 10% transmission was applied, the ratio would be 630-fold. We estimated a 50% reduction in KMC coverage could result in 12,570 incremental deaths and full disruption could result in 25,140 incremental deaths, representing a 2·3–4·6% increase in neonatal mortality across the 127 countries. Interpretation The survival benefit of KMC far outweighs the small risk of death due to COVID-19. Preterm newborns are at risk, especially in LMICs where the consequences of disruptions are substantial. Policymakers and healthcare professionals need to protect services and ensure clearer messaging to keep mothers and newborns together, even if the mother is SARS-CoV-2-positive. Funding Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Elma Philanthropies; Wellcome Trust; and Joint Global Health Trials scheme of Department of Health and Social Care, Department for International Development, Medical Research Council, and Wellcome Trust.
Published: 3 February 2021
Journal: Frontiers in Pediatrics
Frontiers in Pediatrics, Volume 8; https://doi.org/10.3389/fped.2020.633700
The global COVID-19 pandemic has put enormous stress on healthcare systems and hospital staffing. However, through all this, families will continue to become pregnant, give birth, and breastfeed. Unfortunately, care of the childbearing family has been de-prioritized during the pandemic. Additionally, many healthcare practices during the pandemic have not been positive for the childbearing family or breastfeeding. Despite recommendations from the World Health Organization to promote early, direct breastfeeding and skin to skin contact, these and other recommendations are not being followed in the clinical setting. For example, some mothers have been forced to go through labor and birth alone in some institutions whilst some hospitals have limited or no parental visitation to infants in the NICU. Furthermore, hospitals are discharging mothers and their newborns early, limiting the amount of time that families receive expert lactation care, education, and technical assistance. In addition, some hospitals have furloughed staff or transferred them to COVID-19 wards, further negatively impacting direct care for families and their newborns. We are concerned that these massive changes in the care of childbearing families will be permanently adopted. Instead, we must use the pandemic to underscore the importance of human milk and breastfeeding as lifesaving medical interventions. We challenge healthcare professionals to change the current prenatal and post-birth practice paradigms to protect lactation physiology and to ensure that all families in need receive equal access to evidence-based lactation education, care and technical assistance.