Science

Breast milk cannot transmit Covid-19 to infants: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on August 21, 2020

Future research will look at whether breast milk contains active antiviral components that can fight Covid-19

A new study published in the online edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests that breast milk cannot transmit coronavirus to infants.

The study was carried out by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, and the University of California, Los Angeles.

For the study, the researchers examined 64 samples of breast milk collected by the Mommy’s Milk Human Milk Research Biorepository from 18 Covid-19 positive women across the United States.

The researchers found that the virus does not replicate in the milk and thus, is unable to pass on the infection to the infant.

Christina Chambers, co-principal investigator of the study, professor of paediatrics at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, and Director of Mommy’s Milk Human Milk Research Biorepository, said in the study: “Detection of viral RNA does not equate to infection. It has to grow and multiply in order to be infectious and we did not find that in any of our samples.”

“Our findings suggest breast milk itself is not likely a source of infection for the infant,” Chambers added.

The researchers also noted that in order to prevent the transmission of the virus, women should maintain hand hygiene and sterilise the pumping equipment after each use.

“In the absence of data, some women infected with SARS-CoV-2 have chosen to just not breastfeed at all,” said Grace Aldrovandi, MD, co-principal investigator of the study, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, and a professor of paediatrics in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UC Los Angeles.

“We hope our results and future studies will give women the reassurance needed for them to breastfeed. Human milk provides invaluable benefits to mom and baby,” added Aldrovandi.

Chambers believes that this is a very positive finding for donor milk, which many infants, especially those born premature, rely on.

“Our findings fill in some important gaps, but more studies are needed with larger sample sizes to confirm these findings,” said Chambers.

Chambers further stated that future work will not only look at whether breast milk is free of the virus, but also whether it contains active antiviral components that can fight Covid-19.

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

Published on August 21, 2020
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor