More proof that infants too young to get the vaccine are protected by the COVID-19 vaccine is provided by a recent study from the University of Florida.
This research builds on data from a 2021 study that showed antibodies to COVID-19, the virus that causes SARS-CoV-2 in breast milk from people who had received the vaccination.
COVID-19 Moms Can Pass The Immunity To Their Babies
The latest research, which was written up in the Journal of Perinatology, examined the infants’ feces after they drank this breast milk and discovered SARS-CoV-2 antibodies there as well.
The scientists demonstrated that the antibodies identified in the infants’ feces provided defense against the virus using a procedure known as a neutralization assay. To begin the assay, antibodies are extracted from the stool and added to a line of cells designed to mimic the receptors the SARS-CoV-2 virus employs to enter cells.
The SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus, which imitates the virus that causes COVID-19 but is less dangerous to handle in the lab, is then shown by the researchers. Due to the fluorescent nature of the pseudovirus, when it attaches to a cell, the cell glows.
Although the virus that causes COVID-19 is frequently believed to primarily impact the lungs, it can also infiltrate the gut, the researchers added, so finding antibodies there is noteworthy.
The study also assessed and examined antibodies in the mothers’ blood plasma, breast milk, and breast milk again about six months following vaccination.
Although they also noted that antibody levels fell at the six-month point, as other vaccine studies have also reported, the researchers discovered that the antibodies in the plasma and milk of persons who had received vaccinations were better able to kill the virus.
COVID-19 Vaccine During Pregnancy
The first and second studies taken together provide a more complete picture of how vaccination against COVID-19 during pregnancy and breastfeeding may be protective for both parent and child, according to Dr. Josef Neu, one of the study’s co-authors and a professor in the department of pediatrics, division of neonatology, at the University of Florida College of Medicine.
Given that this most recent study only involved 37 moms and 25 infants—a rather small number of participants—the researchers claim that larger studies are required to provide an answer.
The researchers note that this study contributes to a growing body of data showing how COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy and lactation may protect neonates. Considering that infants younger than six months old are now ineligible for the vaccine, breast milk may be the only source of immunity.
The Children’s Miracle Network and The Gerber Foundation provided money for the study’s funding.