By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Penn Medicine study suggests COVID-19 antibodies found in pregnant women might also protect their newborns. The study found mothers who have had COVID-19 can pass along some protection against COVID to their newborns.

Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania say coronavirus antibodies in a pregnant woman’s blood were found at similar levels in the blood of their newborns.

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“This transfer appears to be pretty efficient,” said study co-senior author Karen Puopolo, MD, PhD, a neonatologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, an associate professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and Chief of the Section on Newborn Medicine at Pennsylvania Hospital. “In some of the cases, the newborn’s blood concentration of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was even higher than the mother’s.”

Researchers tested the blood of 1,471 women and their newborns and found that 83 women had significant levels of antibodies. 87% of their newborns also had significant levels of antibodies in samples drawn from the umbilical cord.

“In general, our findings are consistent with what we know about cross-placental transfer of antibodies to other viruses, and should contribute to the discussion about whether and when to vaccinate pregnant women against SARS-CoV-2,” said co-senior author Scott Hensley, PhD, an associate professor of Microbiology at Penn Medicine and a member of the Penn Institute for Immunology.

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Researchers say evidence suggests the antibodies crossed the placenta from the mother’s blood.

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