Study: ‘Few ad­verse out­comes’ for ba­bies with pos­i­tive moms

San Francisco Chronicle - - FROM THE COVER - By Lau­ren Hernán­dez Lau­ren Hernán­dez is a San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle staff writer. Email: lau­ren.hernandez@sfchron­i­ Twit­ter: @Byl­h­er­nan­dez

Ba­bies born to moth­ers in­fected with the coro­n­avirus gen­er­ally do well, ac­cord­ing to a new UCSF study that ex­am­ined in­fants dur­ing their first eight weeks of life.

The study found “few ad­verse out­comes” and no re­ports of pneu­mo­nia or lower res­pi­ra­tory tract in­fec­tion through the first eight weeks of age for ba­bies born to women with COVID­19, UCSF of­fi­cials said in a state­ment on Tues­day. The study an­a­lyzed 263 in­fants born to 179 moth­ers who tested pos­i­tive for COVID­19 and 84 moth­ers who tested neg­a­tive, of­fi­cials said. The ba­bies were born at more than 100 hos­pi­tals across the coun­try.

“Among 263 in­fants in the study, ad­verse out­comes — in­clud­ing preterm birth, NICU ad­mis­sion and res­pi­ra­tory dis­ease — did not dif­fer be­tween those born to moth­ers test­ing pos­i­tive for SARSCOV­2 and those born to moth­ers test­ing neg­a­tive,” UCSF of­fi­cials said.

Re­searchers did find a higher rate of ba­bies ad­mit­ted into the neona­tal in­ten­sive care unit if the moth­ers had COVID­19 up to two weeks be­fore they gave birth, UCSF of­fi­cials said. Of the 263 in­fants, 44 were were ad­mit­ted to the neona­tal in­ten­sive care unit, of­fi­cials said, “but no pneu­mo­nia or lower res­pi­ra­tory tract in­fec­tions were re­ported dur­ing the study.”

“Among the 56 in­fants as­sessed for up­per res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tion, it was re­ported in two in­fants with Covid­pos­i­tive moth­ers, and in one with a Covid­neg­a­tive mother,” UCSF of­fi­cials said.

Va­lerie J. Fla­her­man, the lead au­thor of the study and a UCSF as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of pe­di­atrics and epi­demi­ol­ogy and bio­statis­tics, said re­searchers “didn’t know what to ex­pect for the ba­bies, so this is good news.”

“When coro­n­avirus first hit, there were so many strange and un­for­tu­nate is­sues tied to it, but there was al­most no in­for­ma­tion on how COVID­19 im­pacts preg­nant women and their new­borns,” Fla­her­man said.

Of­fi­cials said the study is part of a na­tional project led by UCSF re­searchers called Preg­nancy Coro­n­avirus Out­comes Reg­istry, or PRI­OR­ITY. The project was launched in March and aims to un­der­stand how the coro­n­avirus af­fects “preg­nant and post­par­tum women and their in­fants,” UCSF of­fi­cials said.

Stephanie L. Gaw, a se­nior au­thor of the study and UCSF as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of ob­stet­rics, gy­ne­col­ogy and re­pro­duc­tive sciences, said in a state­ment that the study re­sults are “re­as­sur­ing” but that “it’s im­por­tant to note that the ma­jor­ity of these births were from third trimester in­fec­tions.”

Two ba­bies born to moth­ers who tested pos­i­tive in their third trimester had birth de­fects, “each with mul­ti­ple con­gen­i­tal anom­alies re­ported (one had car­diac, ver­te­bral, re­nal and pul­monary anom­alies, while the other had fa­cial, gen­i­tal, re­nal, brain and car­diac anom­alies),” UCSF of­fi­cials said, and “one mother who tested neg­a­tive re­ported an in­fant with gas­troin­testi­nal, re­nal and car­diac anom­alies.”

Of­fi­cials also noted that among in­fants born to moth­ers who tested pos­i­tive for COVID­19, the “es­ti­mated in­ci­dence of a pos­i­tive in­fant SARS­COV­2 test was low at 1.1 per­cent” and the coro­n­avirus “did not ap­pear to im­pact those in­fants.”

UCSF of­fi­cials said the study marks the first re­port in the coun­try an­a­lyz­ing “in­fant out­comes” through their first eight weeks.

Re­searchers said the study had lim­i­ta­tions, though, re­fer­ring to how coro­n­avirus tests could have been based on false­pos­i­tive or false­neg­a­tive re­sults, and noted how Black and Latina moth­ers were “un­der­rep­re­sented” in the study.

The PRI­OR­ITY study in May launched a new project to “in­crease en­roll­ment of un­der­rep­re­sented groups,” of­fi­cials said.

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