KARACHI: A comprehensive study conducted at Karachi University (KU) concluded that the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from an infected mother to the neonate is extremely rare.

The study was conducted at the National Institute of Virology, part of International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), with the support of Zainab Panjwani Memorial Hospital and financial support of the JS Bank Future Trust.

Under the study, 140 pregnant women, most of them residents of Karachi’s Central and East districts, were randomly enrolled and tested for infection from March 2021 to December 2021.

They were closely monitored for different variants’ effects of SARS-CoV-2 during different peak periods of Covid-19. The enrolled women showed mild to moderate symptoms of the disease and there was no case of severe symptoms even.

The women with and without infection, according to the study, showed a similar clinical picture, indicating an overall little clinical impact of the infection.

“Hence, Covid-19 infection in pregnancy is not a risk factor for C-sections, miscarriage, preterm births, or maternal mortality,” a spokesperson of ICCBS said, adding that transfer of antibodies was commonly observed, though the virus could not be detected in any baby immediately after birth.

The study suggests vaccination of pregnant women against the virus to prevent the spread of the disease to newborns.

It also recommends good care of newborns with infected mothers as virus was detected in a baby on the seventh day of birth. Later, a genomic analysis confirmed that the baby was infected with the same variant infecting the mother.

“The strength of the current study is that it is based on qPCR and genomics analysis and effectively clarifies the ambiguities regarding the vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2.”

Published in Dawn, May 11th, 2022

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