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Study Finds Covid-19 Negatively Affects Placenta’s Immune Response

Study Finds Covid-19 Negatively Affects Placenta’s Immune Response

The latest report from a study conducted on pregnant women infected with Covid-19 has shown that the virus decreases the immune response of the placenta toward further infections. As per the report published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, even if the infection is slighter it brings the same response.  

According to Dr. Kristina Adams Waldorf, the senior author of the study and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, the current study is the latest among those conducted on pregnant women infected with Covid-19.

Findings

Regarding the current study, it was conducted on 164 volunteers, among which 24 were uninfected pregnant women and the rest of the others were contracted with the covid-19 pandemic. When almost all of the volunteers had given birth at 37-38 weeks, the rate of preterm birth among the infected group was three times higher.

During the early attacks of the pandemic, its impact on the developing fetus didn’t appear as harmful. There were also very few counts of babies born with the infections. 

However, in contrast to these, the current researchers’ team has found that the vulnerability in which placenta can be badly affected by Covid-19, as it can bring serious changes in the functions of the placenta. These transformations also seem capable of negatively impacting fetal development. 

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 As per previous findings, the mother’s placenta plays a key role to provide nutrition and oxygen to the fetus till its birth while providing it with the required immune protection. But, according to the findings of the CDC, many scientific studies came up with the threat of increased risk of hospitalizations, and preterm birth among pregnant women who have been infected with the pandemic.

But the current study indicates there is a higher mortality rate in pregnant women if they are infected with Covid-19 when compared to those who are uninfected. Still, the impact of the coronavirus variants on the mother and the fetus varies according to each variant’s contagiousness. Meanwhile, the study authors have shared the complexity of studying each of the variants in real time on its impact on child development. 

Since the new variants of the virus have been identified every day, Dr. Waldorf has stated the struggles in following studies on them. But among those who were studied, the delta variant seems worse with increased chances of maternal deaths, stillbirths, and hospitalizations. 

Dr. Waldrof also has shared that this finding can be considered the tip of an iceberg when compared to the way the pandemic would affect fetal or placental development. Besides, the research team also found that the placentas of pregnant women who were a significant part of their study had an impaired immune response to new infections.

Dr. Helen Feltovich, the co-author of the study and the professor and associate medical director for maternal-fetal medicine imaging at Intermountain Healthcare in Utah, has stated that currently since the children are still too young, there are limited reports available on how the pandemic influences child development. Dr. Feltovich added that their study points to the importance of monitoring such children’s growth cycles. 

Both the study authors put more emphasis on taking precautions against the pandemic, no matter whichever the variant. As such, pregnant women need to be vaccinated and boosted, while the following masking and stay within the circle of vaccinated and boosted people or even isolated for the entire duration of consumption. 

Despite the infection being severe or mild, its impact on the placenta is still abnormal, as it seems the placenta gets exhausted once it gets contracted with Covid-19. Besides, there can be a very less chance for it to retrieve its immune response. 

References:

🔵National Library Of Medicine (n.d) The Effects of COVID-19 on Placenta and Pregnancy: What Do We Know So Far? (Available On):https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7827584/

🔵Mayo Clinic (1998-2022) Pregnancy and COVID-19: What are the risks? (Available On):https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/pregnancy-and-covid-19/art-20482639

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