Covid and Breast milk: Antibodies in the milk of infected mothers?
Researchers at the University of Amsterdam Hospital Center (UMC) are investigating whether antibodies against the coronavirus can be found in the breast milk of infected women. If so, they will investigate whether a medicine for vulnerable groups can be made from this breast milk.
"We know that breast milk protects newborns from respiratory infections," says Britt van Keulen, a physician at the UMC Breast Milk Bank and involved in the study. "It is because there are antibodies in breast milk," she said. "While breastfeeding, the mother transmits her own antibodies to her child."
Britt van Keulen suspects that antibodies to the coronavirus may also pass into breast milk. It refers to the story of a woman who was pregnant during the 2003 SARS epidemic. "This woman was severely infected with SARS and gave birth to a healthy baby at 38 weeks. Antibodies to the virus were found in her breast milk. viruses. Knowing that the coronavirus is very similar to SARS, they are from the same family, so I think that antibodies against the coronavirus are also found in breast milk."
Rebecca Powell is studying the immune properties of breast milk at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, including the flu. When the coronavirus pandemic broke out, the scientist, herself a mother of three, began looking for lactating women who had previously been infected with COVID-19 and who wanted to participate in a study, she tells the American Insider news website.
In a published article it reveals that they found antibodies reactive to COVID-19 in the breast milk of 13 mothers who recovered from the disease of the 15 who participated in this research. These results, while preliminary and based on a small number of participants, indicate a "strong immune response to COVID-19," Powell said in an interview with Insider.
At this time, it is unknown whether these antibodies provide any protection to newborns or whether they could be used in the development of a therapeutic treatment for coronavirus. This is what should be verified with other research on a larger scale, explains the researcher.
The scientific community has not yet determined with certainty whether there is a risk of transmission between a mother who carries COVID-19 and a baby while breastfeeding, but the first available studies have not detected the virus in breast milk, according to the Center for the Disease Control and Prevention in the United States.
It's certainly not about encouraging adults to order breast milk online to drink in hopes of preventing or curing COVID-19. There is no evidence that it works and it can cause other health problems, Forbes magazine reports. Instead, Powell envisions antibodies that would purify and concentrate, which could eventually be a treatment.