International AIDS Conference
International AIDS Conference
Source/Disclosures
Source:

Fenizia C, et al. Strong evidence that in utero vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is possible. Presented at: International AIDS Conference; July 6-10, 2020 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Fenizia reports no relevant financial disclosures.
July 09, 2020
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Evidence ‘strongly suggestive’ of in utero vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2

Source/Disclosures
Source:

Fenizia C, et al. Strong evidence that in utero vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is possible. Presented at: International AIDS Conference; July 6-10, 2020 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Fenizia reports no relevant financial disclosures.
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A small study of 31 pregnant women with SARS-CoV-2 infection provided data that are “strongly suggestive” of the possibility of in utero vertical transmission of the novel coronavirus, a researcher said.

Claudio Fenizia, PhD, of the University of Milan, presented findings from the study at the virtual AIDS 2020 meeting, which hosted a session focused on COVID-19 updates.

Claudio Fenizia

“Our results are strongly suggestive of vertical in utero SARS-CoV-2 transmission, and it occurred in two cases out of 31,” Fenizia told Healio. “I would say that our results suggest that this is not that common. I also would like to point out that all the samples were collected between March and April, when the pandemic hit Italy in late February. So, of course, the women we analyzed were at the end of their pregnancy.”

Fenizia and colleagues used real-time PCR to test nasopharyngeal swabs, vaginal swabs, maternal and umbilical cord plasma, placenta and umbilical cord biopsies, amniotic fluid and milk. The testing uncovered the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in an at-term placenta, umbilical cord blood, the vagina of a pregnant women and in breast milk, the researchers reported.

“I believe it's too early to draw any firm conclusion,” Fenizia said. “The aim of our study is to raise awareness, because in literature, there are few studies about pregnancy. And it could be a really key point for clinicians and future parents.”

Fenizia and colleagues also discovered immunoglobulin M and immunoglobulin G antibodies in the umbilical cord blood of pregnant women and in their breast milk samples. They found that a specific inflammatory response was triggered by SARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnant women “at both systemic and placental level, and in umbilical cord blood plasma.”

“I would say that if our results are confirmed on a larger scale from other studies, it could be the case that new guidelines could be [put] in effect,” Fenizia said.