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Infected Singaporean woman gives birth to baby with covid-19 antibodies

With the novel coronavirus presenting oodles of difficulties to people over the world, a new event pertaining to its transfer has garnered worldwide attention.

A woman belonging to Singapore has given birth to a baby with covid-19 antibodies. This rare incident occurred after the woman got infected with coronavirus while she was pregnant in March. When she recently gave birth, the baby was found to be having antibodies for the virus, reported Straits Times news agency with quotations from the mother.

This new discovery has led scientists and experts to think as to whether it can prove to be a major development in aiming to gather knowledge about the virus as not much is known about it. It also opens the window to understand if the virus has the ability to transfer from an infected mother to her child during pregnancy.

The Sunday edition of the ST newspaper mentioned that though the baby wasn’t born with covid-19, the antibodies were surprisingly present in his body.

Celine Ng-Chan, the mother spoke about the doctor’s preliminary opinions regarding the condition, “My doctor suspects I have transferred my COVID-19 antibodies to him during my pregnancy.”

As she was suffering from the milder form of the disease, Ng-Chan was discharged from the hospital and allowed to go back to her home after 2 and a half weeks of admission, the paper reported.

However, when approached with the request for comment, neither Ng-Chan nor the hospital where she underwent the delivery, National University Hospital (NUH) immediately replied to it.

However, the newspaper quoted a spokesperson of the hospital saying that the information garnered from this incident will be used in formulating hypotheses which can eventually lead to finding the enhanced care techniques for safeguarding pregnant women and infants from the virus.

NUH and KK’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital have joined hands for a deeper study that aims to look into the factors by which covid-19 affects expecting women and babies. Ng-Chan has also agreed to become a part of this study as she said that it’s important to know more about the virus for fighting it better and efficiently.

However, WHO (World Health Organization) said that as there hasn’t been a single case of the virus transferring from an infected mother to her unborn child during pregnancy, no evidence supporting the passage of the virus is present. Moreover, the global health body said that till now, no amount of the active virus has been found in samples of the fluid surrounding the baby in the womb or in breast milk.

According to a paper published in the journal called Emerging Infectious Diseases which spoke about the transfer of antibodies between mother to fetus, all the 11 infants delivered by infected mothers had some levels of IgG antibodies in them, while 5 of them also had IgM antibodies. IgM is a bigger sized antibody that is usually formed in response to an infection in the body and due to its size, isn’t transferred. However, IgG due to its smaller size passes to the fetus passively.

In October, New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center’s JAMA pediatricians said transmission of the coronavirus from a mother to her child is rare.