Back to top

Study investigates possibility of newborn coronavirus transmission


The novel coronavirus, which is causing an outbreak in China, may not be passed from mother to child late in pregnancy, according to a small observational study by Chinese scientists.

The study, published in The Lancet online on Wednesday, covered nine pregnant women confirmed to have COVID-19 pneumonia. All nine pregnancies resulted in live births, with two cases of fetal distress.

The authors of the new study caution their findings are based on a limited number of cases over a short period of time, and only included women who were late in their pregnancy and gave birth by Caesarean section. The effect of mothers being infected with the virus during the first or second trimester of pregnancy and subsequent outcomes for their offspring remain unclear, as well as whether the virus can be passed from mother to child during natural birth, according to Lancet.

The new study comes after the news of a child born to a mother infected with COVID-19 testing positive for infection within 36 hours of birth, which prompted questions about whether the virus could be contracted in the womb.

When discussing the case, the study’s lead author Zhang Yuanzhen, from Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, said: “It is important to note many important clinical details of this case are missing, and for this reason we cannot conclude from this one case whether intrauterine infection is possible. Nonetheless, we should continue to pay special attentions to newborns born to mothers with COVID-19 pneumonia to help prevent infections in this group.”

(Source: China Daily)