30 November 2020

Antibodies by inheritance

A boy with antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus was born in Singapore

Maria Azarova, Naked Science

Celine Ng-Chan, a 31-year-old resident of Singapore, gave birth to a child who was found to have antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, the publication reported The Straits Times. Ng-Chan fell ill with Covid-19 in March – after a vacation with her family in Europe. She was ten weeks pregnant at the time. The disease was mild, and the woman was discharged from the medical institution two and a half weeks later.


31-year-old Celine Ng-Chan and her newborn son / © Timothy David.

Aldrin was born in early November at the National University Hospital (NUH). According to doctors, the boy is absolutely healthy. It is unclear how long he will have antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 and whether they provide him with the proper level of protection against infection: presumably, over time, the titer of these proteins will decrease. In addition, it is not yet known whether the antibodies were transmitted to the baby from the mother or his body produced them itself.

According to experts from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Great Britain, the transmission of Covid-19 from the expectant mother to the fetus during pregnancy or childbirth is rather rare. Although such cases were reported at the very beginning of the pandemic.

In July, French doctors described the first reliable case of coronavirus infection of an unborn child: after birth, he was diagnosed with brain swelling, muscle spasms and neurological symptoms characteristic of Covid-19 in adults. Doctors assumed that the virus was transmitted to the fetus from the placenta (where the highest concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 were found) through the umbilical cord. The baby recovered after three weeks.

Scientists believe that a mother can infect a child with coronavirus regardless of which method of delivery she prefers, what kind of feeding (breast or bottle feeding) will be, as well as whether they sleep in the same bed or not.

In addition, a recent study showed that children in contact with parents who have Covid-19 and have symptoms can develop an immune response to infection without experiencing severe symptoms. Apparently, the child's immune system can effectively prevent the replication of the pathogen inside the cells of the body, despite its effects.

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