The Indian Council of Medical Research, India’s apex body for biomedical research, issued a new set of guidelines under which they clearly mentioned that there has been emerging evidence now that suggests there is a probability that SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can be transmitted from a mother to her baby, either antenatally, that is before birth or intrapartum, or during the onset of labour through the delivery of the placenta.
The body while issuing these guidelines also added that the “proportion of pregnancies affected and the significance to the neonate has yet to be determined".
They said that currently there have been no cases of breast milk being tested positive for COVID-19 and there is also no data that suggests there is any link between miscarriage or early pregnancy loss and COVID-19.
Since the disease is relatively new, a lot of research is still ongoing. That’s why it remains unclear whether newborns infected with COVID-19 are at a higher risk or not.
The body also issued a clarification by saying that women who are pregnant are not prone to catch this disease. The only thing that is worrisome is that pregnancy alters the immune system, thus there are chances that the pregnant women might experience severe symptoms of coronavirus.
The ICMR has taken the study that happened in China, which is published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) as the base for this guideline. The study has recorded 3 positive cases of COVID-19 among newborns. There was another study that had happened in China that observed antibodies in infants indicating that the virus had hit at the foetal stage.
Despite, ICMR taking out these guidelines, WHO has not revised its policy on the transmission of the virus from the mother to a newborn. The WHO guidelines still say, “we don’t know if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus to her foetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery."
As more and more research is done on the novel coronavirus pandemic, more and more things would become clearer.