In a stunning medical development, a frontline healthcare worker who received her first dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine three weeks before she gave birth, delivered a baby that had antibodies against the virus.
According to The Hill, doctors detected the antibodies from the vaccine in the newborn’s cord blood. It is the first known case of its kind and was reported in a preprint publication by two doctors in Boca Raton, Fla.
"A vigorous, healthy, full-term female was born to a COVID-19 naïve mother who had received a single dose of mRNA vaccine three weeks prior to delivery," wrote the pediatricians. "Cord blood antibodies were detected to the S-protein of SARS-CoV-2 at time of delivery."
Dr. Chad Rudnick, one of the doctors involved, said: "This is one small case in what will be thousands and thousands of babies born to mothers who have been vaccinated over the next several months," according to The Hill.
The authors of the study said that more research needs to be conducted to investigate how a mother’s vaccine can help protect infants form the virus.
Researchers notoriously shy away from using pregnant women in clinical trials for any drug because they don’t know what effect it can have on the developing fetus. According to The Wall Street Journal, thalidomide and diethylstilbestrol, known as DES, were once prescribed to pregnancy women until it was found they caused serious health problems for their babies.
The Coalition to Advance Maternal Therapeutics wrote to the heads of the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration last year urging them to find ways to include pregnant women and lactating women in their COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutics development, said the Journal.
The new study from the Palm Beach County doctors is consistent with a previous observation that protection against COVID-19 can be passed from pregnant mothers to their babies. A study recently published in JAMA Pediatrics January 29, 2021 found that antibodies were transferred across the placenta in 72 out of 83 pregnant women — that’s 86% — who tested positive for COVID-19. The discovery was made by a team of researchers with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.
According to The Week, the Philadelphia-based women who were infected earlier in their pregnancies gave birth to newborns with the highest concentrations of antibodies.
"What we have found is fairly consistent with what we have learned from studies of other viruses," said Scott E. Hensley, Ph.D., a microbiologist and one of the senior authors of the study. Dr. Hensley said that vaccinating women earlier in pregnancy might offer more protective benefits but actual studies need to be completed before drawing that conclusion, according to The New York Times.
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