No evidence found for SARS-CoV-2 vertical transmission to fetus

This article was originally published by the Physician’s Briefing

There is currently no evidence that SARS-CoV-2 undergoes intrauterine or transplacental transmission from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-infected pregnant women to fetuses, according to a study published online March 17 in the Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine.

David A. Schwartz, M.D., from the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University in Atlanta, reviewed the outcomes of two previous coronavirus infections (severe acute respiratory syndrome [SARS] caused by SARS-CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome [MERS] caused by MERS-CoV) on pregnancy outcomes and analyzed the literature describing 38 pregnant women with COVID-19 and their newborns in China to examine the transmissibility of the virus from mother to infant.

Schwartz found that unlike coronavirus infections of pregnant women caused by SARS and MERS, COVID-19 did not lead to maternal deaths in these 38 pregnant women. There were no confirmed cases of intrauterine transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from mothers with COVID-19 to their fetuses, similar to pregnancies with SARS and MERS. All neonatal specimens tested, including some placentas, were negative for SARS-CoV-2 by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction.

“There are currently updated recommendations available on the obstetrical management of SARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnant women,” Schwartz writes. “In addition, it must be remembered that as vaccine development proceeds for COVID-19 that pregnant women should be considered for inclusion in the clinical trials as well as the eventual distribution of the vaccine unless the risks outweigh the potential benefits.”

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