A Singaporean woman who was infected with Covid-19 while pregnant has given birth to a baby which has antibodies against the disease.
The mother, Celine Ng-Chan, became mildly ill after contracting Covid-19 and spent two-and-a-half weeks in hospital as a result.
Ng-Chan gave birth last month and her baby was found not to have Covid-19. However, the fact it had antibodies offers new clues as to whether the disease can be passed from mother to child in utero.
Speaking to the Straits Times newspaper, Ng-Chan said: “My doctor suspects I have transferred my COVID-19 antibodies to him during my pregnancy.”
Ng-Chan and her baby’s experience has prompted doctors in Singapore’s public hospitals to investigate further the impact of Covid-19 on unborn babies. This will add to research already being conducted internationally on whether the infection can be transferred during pregnancy, how babies develop antibodies in the womb and whether they offer an effective shield against the virus.
One of the hospitals involved in the studies is KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Tan Hak Koon, chairman of the Obstetrics and Gynaecology division at KK, said: "It is still unknown whether the presence of these antibodies in a newborn baby confers a degree of protection against Covid-19 infection, much less the duration of protection."