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COVID-19, pregnancy and storage of umbilical cord blood

Pregnant women are increasingly asking their doctors how the virus SARS-CoV-2 affects pregnancy and umbilical cord blood banks about the possibility of storing perinatal tissues (umbilical cord blood, placenta, umbilical cord) during a COVID-19 pandemic.

The Institute of Cell Therapy has already provided answers to the most common questions of pregnant women about the new coronavirus here https://cryobank.ua/uk/news-uk/covid-19-i-vagitnist/

And today we introduce you the opinions of the authoritative international organization Parents ’Guide to Cord Blood Foundation experts on pregnancy, COVID-19 and storage of umbilical cord blood, placenta and umbilical cord during a pandemic.

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in the United States claims that there is currently no evidence that pregnant women are at higher risk for COVID-19. However, it is known that respiratory infections in pregnant women can be more severe. Therefore, pregnant women should be supposed to be a risk group for COVID-19. If you are pregnant during a COVID-19 pandemic, you should take all possible measures to avoid SARS-CoV-2 infection. If you are pregnant and suspect that you have got COVID-19, tell your doctor immediately!

Pregnant women are characterized by reduced immune protection. Decreased immune function in pregnant women contributes to normal pregnancy, because the baby’s tissues are not identical to the mother’s body and without proper restructuring of the woman’s immune system could cause a rejection reaction.

Pregnant women also experience excessive loading on their heart and lungs. Thus, pregnant women with influenza have a higher risk of hospitalization compared to non-pregnant women, especially with diabetes or asthma.

How does the flu affect the course of pregnancy? If a pregnant woman develops a severe form of influenza, it increases the risk of miscarriage and premature birth.

A small study in China involving 10 pregnant women found that COVID-19 during pregnancy was associated with neonatal distress syndrome and preterm birth.

Can a pregnant woman pass SARS-CoV-2 to a baby?

Before birth, the placenta protects the baby from COVID-19. At the same time, maternal antibodies, providing antiviral protection get to the baby through the placenta. To date, it has been proven that the common flu virus does not get to the baby through the placenta. As for COVID-19, the first studies in China show that coronavirus can sometimes be transmitted from mother to child, but more research is needed to confirm this. According to a study conducted in Wuhan, China, SARS-CoV-2 was also detected in 3 of 33 children born by caesarean section to women with COVID-19.

Despite the fever and pneumonia that occurred in these infants after birth, all infants recovered during the 1 week of age, and COVID-19 test results were negative.

However, a mother with COVID-19 can infect a newborn through close contact after delivery. In order to prevent the infection of newborns with COVID-19 by a mother with coronavirus, women are advised to express milk using special pumps and entrust the feeding of the baby from the bottle to another healthy person.

Does umbilical cord blood contain COVID-19?

No, umbilical cord blood does not contain SARS-CoV-2, even if the mother is positive for COVID-19.

In general, respiratory viruses very rarely enter the bloodstream. Antibodies to COVID-19 are detected in the blood, but not the virus itself. Therefore, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recommend donor testing for COVID-19 because SARS-CoV-2 does not enter the bloodstream, and since there is a shortage of blood donors during the COVID-19 pandemic, FDA has eased the requirements for donors.

Studies in China also show that COVID-19 is not found in umbilical cord blood or placenta.

In particular, 9 mothers with COVID-19 pneumonia who were carried out by caesarean section were examined. Examination of samples of their amniotic fluid, umbilical cord blood, breast milk did not reveal COVID-19. This way, you don’t have to worry about COVID-19 getting into your umbilical cord blood or placenta. Moreover, if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 already has antibodies to the coronavirus, they will be passed through the placenta to the baby and will protect it from this infection.

In China, 6 infants from women with COVID-19 pneumonia at birth were examined, and all infants showed antibodies to SARS-CoV-2.

Scientists are also hoping for a vaccine against COVID-19, and then newborns from vaccinated women will also be immune to the coronavirus.

It is known that newborns from women vaccinated against influenza are much less likely to suffer from respiratory infections.

Do umbilical cord blood banks screen women for COVID-19?

Although COVID-19 does not get to the umbilical cord blood, umbilical cord blood banks have modified the medical questionnaire for the pregnant woman and are collecting data on coronavirus infection.

The presence of COVID-19 in the mother-to-be does not affect the procedure of collecting umbilical cord blood.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the work of umbilical cord blood banks? The COVID-19 pandemic has nothing to do with umbilical cord blood processing, however, umbilical cord blood banks have been forced to make some changes to the logistics system and staffing.

Source: https://parentsguidecordblood.org/en/news/coronavirus-during-pregnancy-and-cord-blood-banking

The Institute of Cell Therapy, the Ukraine’s first and only ISO-accredited Cryobank of umbilical cord blood provides long-term low-temperature storage of umbilical cord blood, umbilical cord, placenta. Cryobank’s logistics system allows uninterrupted transportation of collected biomaterial from all maternity hospitals in Ukraine also during the COVID-19 pandemic. All containers with biomaterial arriving at Cryobank are externally disinfected. The shift work of Cryobank employees with breaks has been modified for more frequent disinfection of premises. For the convenience and safety of clients, the Institute of Cell Therapy provides remote consultations on all issues related to the storage of umbilical cord blood, umbilical cord, placenta and the possibility of remote contracting.