Coronavirus antibodies present in babies born to mothers with COVID-19: study

Five babies born to mothers who had COVID-19 while they were pregnant were born with antibodies against the deadly virus, according to a new study out of Singapore. 

The study, published on Friday in the journal Annals of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore, followed 16 pregnant women between the ages of 23 and 36, who were all infected with COVID-19 at different points in their pregnancies. The study took place between March and August. 

The study results were "reassuring," according to a statement from the Singapore Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research Network.

The study results were “reassuring,” according to a statement from the Singapore Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research Network. (iStock)

The study results were “reassuring,” according to a statement from the Singapore Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research Network (SORN), which led the research. 

“While most pregnant women with COVID-19 were mildly infected, severe COVID-19 could occur in older pregnant women with high body mass index (BMI). All infected patients in the study made a full recovery. This demonstrates that the incidence and severity of COVID-19 among pregnant women parallels general population trends and that the majority of patients will recover from COVID-19,” the researchers concluded, per the SORN statement. 


Additionally, “the study also found no evidence of vertical transmission of COVID-19 from mother to baby in this group of patients.”

Five babies born by the time the study was published were born with antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus, per the researchers.

That said, it’s not clear what level of protection the babies born with the antibodies will be afforded against the virus, and babies born to mothers who had suffered a COVID-19 infection closer to the time they gave birth had a higher amount of antibodies compared to those who were infected earlier on during their pregnancy. 

“As COVID-19 is expected to continue beyond this year, healthcare professionals providing maternity care will need to continue to maintain vigilance in managing labor and delivery,” SORN said in a statement, noting researchers with the network “will continue to study evolving maternal risk factors, severe infection, and mother-to-baby infection in the womb, related to COVID-19.”

The study comes after reports surfaced late last month that a woman infected with COVID-19 gave birth to a baby who tested positive for the antibodies.

The woman, identified in reports as Celine Ng-Chan, reportedly gave birth to a healthy boy in early November. The baby, named Aldrin, was born at National University Hospital and was deemed free of COVID-19 infection at birth, according to the Straits Times.

The mother of two told the news outlet she contracted the virus after returning from a trip in March and was diagnosed at just 10 weeks pregnant. She experienced mild illness, according to the news outlet, and was discharged from the hospital in 2.5 weeks.


Although she no longer has the antibodies herself, she said her doctors suspect she transferred them to her son while pregnant.

The women’s case ultimately prompted public hospitals in Singapore to take a closer look at the virus’s potential impact on pregnancy. 

Fox News’ Alexandria Hein contributed to this report. 

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