No Sign of Vertical Transmission of COVID-19 Found in Late Pregnancy

THURSDAY, Feb. 13, 2020 — There currently is no evidence of intrauterine infection caused by vertical transmission in women who develop 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pneumonia in late pregnancy, according to research published online Feb. 12 in The Lancet.

Huijun Chen, Ph.D., from Wuhan University in China, and colleagues conducted a retrospective review of clinical records, laboratory results, and chest computed tomography scans for nine pregnant women with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 admitted from Jan. 20 to Jan. 31, 2020.

The researchers note that all the patients had a cesarean section in the third trimester. Seven patients presented with fever. Cough, myalgia, sore throat, and malaise were also observed (four, three, two, and two patients, respectively). In two cases, fetal distress was monitored. Lymphopenia was seen in five patients. Increased aminotransferase concentrations were seen in three patients. As of Feb. 4, 2020, none of the patients developed severe COVID-19 pneumonia or died. There were nine recorded live births, all of which had a one-minute Apgar score of 8 to 9 and a five-minute Apgar score of 9 to 10. In newborn babies, there was no neonatal asphyxia observed. In six patients tested for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, amniotic fluid, cord blood, neonatal throat swab, and breast milk samples were all negative for the virus.

“We believe that the findings reported here are important for understanding the clinical characteristics and vertical transmission potential of COVID-19 infection in pregnant women,” the authors write.

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