THURSDAY, Oct. 15, 2020 (HealthDay News) — In a series of 101 newborns of mothers with perinatal severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), there was no clinical evidence of vertical transmission, according to a study published online Oct. 12 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Dani Dumitriu, M.D., Ph.D., from Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues described the outcomes of neonates born to mothers with perinatal SARS-CoV-2 infection in a retrospective cohort review of medical records for 101 neonates born to 100 mothers positive for or with suspected SARS-CoV-2. Eighty-two of the newborns were admitted to well-baby nurseries and roomed-in with their mothers, who were required to wear masks. After appropriate hygiene, direct breastfeeding was encouraged.

A total of 141 SARS-CoV-2 tests were obtained from 101 newborns at 0 to 25 days of life. The researchers found that two newborns had indeterminate test results, indicating low viral load; one remained well on follow-up and did not undergo retesting, while the other was negative on retesting. Compared with newborns of mothers with asymptomatic/mild COVID-19, those with maternal severe/critical COVID-19 had newborns born about one week earlier (median gestational age, 37.9 versus 39.1 weeks), and these newborns were at increased risk for requiring phototherapy (30 versus 7 percent).

“We think it’s particularly important that mothers with COVID-19 have the opportunity to directly breastfeed their newborns,” one coauthor said in a statement. “Breast milk is known to protect newborns against numerous pathogens, and it may help protect newborns against infection with SARS-CoV-2.”

Several authors disclosed ties to biomedical industries.

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