Singaporean gives birth to baby with COVID-19 antibodies

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

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The baby was born this month without COVID-19 but with 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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