OBGYNs, fertility experts rule out possibility, say more data needed
new delhi: While a Pune hospital claimed to have recorded the country's first case of vertical transmission of COVID-19 from mother to child, gynecologists and fertility experts in Delhi seem to rule out the possibility of transmission within the womb. However, they say in cases where both the mother and her child are positive, the child is most likely to have caught the infection after birth.
Dr Kanwal Gujral, Obstetrics and Gynecology, senior consultant at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said that she has not witnessed any case of vertical transmission of COVID-19 in the womb. "We have delivered COVID-19 cases, but the babies were not positive. Before the delivery, we test the mother in the last trimester," she told Millennium Post.
Ruling out the possibility of vertical transmission Dr Gujral said, "It is presumed that the baby got infected post-delivery. At this point, we cannot say that the transmission can occur. We need lots of data to prove anything, just like in HIV, when numerous cases have proved vertical transmission," she added.
Speaking about one case at RML, where one of the COVID-19 positive newborn was asymptomatic, Dr Gujral said the baby got the infection from the mother after, which has been happening in some other cases as well. Dr Parul Katiyar, Fertility Consultant at Nova IVF said, "The uterus transmission has been suspected in some cases but is yet to be proven. The data is becoming bigger and bigger, but there is nothing concrete. So, there are case reports that have come, mostly international but none of them have exactly said that there is a risk of transmission," she added.
She said that the virus as an infection attaches itself to a certain type of receptor in the placenta in the first four months and is more predominantly expressed then. Dr Gujral, meanwhile said that newborns make IgM antibodies and don't cross the placenta.
"Now, in IgG (antibodies) you can cross the placenta and can pass it onto the baby. However, the quality of the test is really important. There is a very thin line whether the baby has formed the IgG antibodies and that is what they said in the RML case," she added.
Dr Manisha Ranjan, Consultant Obstetrics and Gynecology at Motherhood Hospital, said, "In one case recently, a mother got positive and the baby was also positive. The hospital has taken the swab test of both the mother and the baby, and it came out positive. Recent studies have not ruled out vertical transmission."