Singaporean mother gives birth to baby with COVID-19 antibodies

A woman who was pregnant when infected with COVID has reportedly given her child antibodies against the virus.

A researcher works in a lab at the Duke-NUS Medical School, which is developing a way to track genetic changes that speed testing of vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Singapore
To date, the active virus has not been found in samples of fluid around babies in the womb or in breast milk [File: Joseph Campbell/Reuters]

A Singaporean woman who was pregnant when she was infected with coronavirus in March has reportedly given birth to a baby with antibodies against the disease, offering a new clue as to whether the infection can be transferred from mother to child.

The baby, who was was born this month, does not have COVID-19 but has the virus antibodies, the Straits Times newspaper reported on Sunday, citing the mother.

“My doctor suspects I have transferred my COVID-19 antibodies to him during my pregnancy,” Celine Ng-Chan told the paper.

Ng-Chan had been mildly ill from the disease and was discharged from hospital after two and a half weeks, it said.

Ng-Chan and the National University Hospital, where she gave birth, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rare transmission

The World Health Organization says it is not yet known whether a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery.

To date, the active virus has not been found in samples of fluid around babies in the womb or in breast milk.

Doctors in China have reported the detection and decline over time of COVID-19 antibodies in babies born to women with coronavirus, according to an article published in October in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Transmission of the coronavirus from mothers to newborns is rare, doctors from New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center reported in October in JAMA Pediatrics.

While Singapore has recorded just slightly more than 58,000 COVID infections, there are over 62.2 million infections around the world today, with at least 1.45 million reported deaths, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University in the United States.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies