SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies in Breastmilk Three and Six Months Postpartum in Relation to the Trimester of Maternal SARS-CoV-2 Infection: An Exploratory Study

Line Fich*, Ann Marie Hellerung Christiansen, Anna Christine Nilsson, Johanna Lindman, Helle Gybel Juul-Larsen, Christine Bo Hansen, Nina la Cour Freiesleben, Mohammed Rohi Khalil, Henriette Svarre Nielsen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

The immune system of neonates is immature and therefore knowledge of possible early-life protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection, such as breastfeeding, is of great importance. Few studies have investigated the presence and duration of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in breastmilk in relation to the trimester of maternal infection during pregnancy, and none with successful participation from all three trimesters. This study has dual objectives (1) in relation to the trimester of infection to examine the frequency, concentration and duration of IgA and IgG antibodies in breastmilk and blood serum in the third and sixth month post-partum in former SARS-CoV-2-infected mothers and (2) to examine the association in pediatric emergency admission of children within the first six months of life compared to children of non-SARS-CoV-2-infected women. The first objective is based on a prospective cohort and the second is based on a nested case–control design. The study participants are women with a former SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy, whose serology IgG tests at delivery were still positive. Maternal blood and breastmilk samples were collected at three and six months postpartum. Serum IgA frequency three months pp was 72.7% (50%, 90% and 60% in the first, second and third trimester) and 82% six months pp (67%, 91% and 82% in the first, second and third trimester). Breastmilk IgA frequency three months pp was 27% (16.6%, 36% and 20% in first, second and third trimester) and 28% six months pp (0%, 38% and 28% in the first, second and third trimester). The highest IgA concentration in breastmilk was found six months post-partum with infection in the third trimester. Serum IgA was detectable more than 400 days post infection, and serum IgG above threshold was found 430 days after date of infection. We found no correlation between serum IgA and breastmilk IgA, nor between serum IgG and breastmilk IgA regardless of the trimester of infection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3269
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Volume25
Issue number6
Number of pages12
ISSN1661-6596
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13. Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 by the authors.

Keywords

  • antibodies
  • breastmilk
  • human research
  • maternal–neonate immunology
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • trimester of infection

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