Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine found that pregnant mothers who have had COVID-19 can transfer antibodies to their fetuses, providing them with some protection.
The research was conducted by collecting blood samples from 1,471 women and their newborns and testing them for COVID-19 antibodies, Penn Medicine News reported. Of the 83 women that had significant amounts of antibodies, 87% of their newborns had also developed antibodies.
The findings show that newborns can develop antibodies without having to endure fetal infection, suggesting that vaccination of pregnant women could also serve to protect their newborns.
Associate Professor of Microbiology Scott Hensley, one of the senior authors of the study, stated in the report that the findings are consistent with existing knowledge about cross-placental transfer of antibodies to other viruses. Penn Medicine News reported that several smaller studies support the claim that maternal antibodies are able to cross the placenta to the fetal bloodstream, yet the efficiency and process behind the transfer of these antibodies are not yet clear.
Hensley added that the findings “should contribute to the discussion about whether and when to vaccinate pregnant women against SARS-CoV-2.”
In Philadelphia, the number of positive COVID-19 cases detected per day is steadily decreasing. 423 cases per day were reported in Philadelphia County yesterday, representing a 27% decrease from the daily case average two weeks prior, according to the New York Times.
The City of Philadelphia has also established an initiative to support a variety of services to help alleviate parental stress of childcare during the pandemic.