Mumbai: BMC to study newborns’ corona immunity

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to conduct a special study at the Kasturba Hospital to understand the factors for newborn babies not being affected with corona even though their mothers were reported corona positive.

They have collected more than 500 blood samples of the newborn for the study. The civic officials said the study will be done in a month and for now, they are preparing for it.

Since the pandemic outbreak more than 800 deliveries were done across the city, of which less than 10 per cent of newborn babies were affected with the coronavirus after being delivered from the COVID positive mother.

Suresh Kakani, Additional Municipal Commissioner, said it will be the initial study which will be done in a period of a month. So far, very less number of newborns was tested COVID positive at the time of birth and was turned negative after four to five days.

“Our main motto of the study is to understand what was the factor which acted as a barrier for not transmitting the SARS-CoV-2 virus from mother to child. Following which we decided to conduct a study which helps us in future to prevent the transmission of virus," he said.

Infection of SARS-CoV-2 during pregnancy is associated with complications such as preterm labor and premature rupture of membranes, and a proportion of neonates born to infected mothers are also positive for the virus. During pregnancy, the placental barrier protects the fetus from pathogens and ensures healthy development.

Last year, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-National Institute of Research in Reproductive Health (NIRRH), Parel had revealed that the mother-to-child transmission is possible through placenta. While the mother-to-child transmission is only found in one percent from the total 15,000 childbirths in Maharashtra, the new discovery may give birth to a new debate. However, the vertical transmission rate of SARS-CoV-2 is estimated to be eight per cent.

Initial studies in the United Kingdom and Korea have found that coronavirus-positive mothers generally have good outcomes and do not transmit the virus to their babies. Other research has linked coronavirus-positive mothers to higher rates of premature births and maternal morbidity.

In recent decades, India has made significant progress in reducing maternal mortality and increasing the proportion of women who give birth in hospitals or clinics, rather than at home.

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Free Press Journal