Breastfeeding: the milk of mothers vaccinated against Covid also protects newborns

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A new study, published in the Journal of Perinatologyconfirms that the breast milk of individuals vaccinated against Covid-19 provides protection to children too young to be get vaccinated. Previously, the results of another 2021 study by the University of Florida had in fact shown that the breast milk of vaccinated people contained antibodies against Sars-CoV-2. This time, in the new survey by the same research group, the experts have analyzed the feces of children who have consumed breast milk. Checking the presence of neutralizing antibodies and testing its effectiveness.

“Our first study showed that there were SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in breast milk but we couldn’t tell if those antibodies were passing through the babies’ gastrointestinal tracts and providing protection,” he explained. Joseph Larkin III, associate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Cellular Sciences at the University of Florida Institute of Agricultural and Food Sciences. So the scientists used the neutralization test to demonstrate how the antibodies found in the feces of newborns provided protection against infection.

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After isolating the antibodies from the feces, they were added to a special cell line containing receptors similar to those that Sars-CoV-2 exploits to bind to human cells and invade them. In particular, the experts have introduced one fluorescent pseudovirus of SARS-CoV-2, safer to use in a laboratory and capable of illuminating the cell when it manages to bind to it. The result? “We saw that when the antibodies were present there were fewer fluorescent cells compared to our control tests in which no antibodies were present,” he said in a statement Lauren StaffordPhD student at UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

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It is not enough. The researchers noted that although COVID-19 is thought to primarily affect the lungs and upper and deep respiratory tracts, it can also invade the intestine, which is why finding the antibodies is particularly significant. The team also measured and evaluated the level of antibodies detected in the mothers’ blood plasma and breast milk after vaccination and then six months later. Discovering without surprise that the antibodies in milk and plasma were more able to neutralize the virus than those identified in the faeces of the children, with a decrease in number and effectiveness just after six months. A threshold on which the majority of the scientific community now converges.

The importance of these two studies – which they also need further investigations on a larger scale to demonstrate whether children with antibodies ingested from breast milk actually tend to be more protected, as one imagines – it lies in demonstrating once again how vaccination against Covid-19 during pregnancy and breastfeeding protect both the child that the parent is absolutely recommended.

«In our research we follow the journey of antibodies, from the moment they are produced in the mother after vaccination and now through the digestive system of the child. The next question is whether those children are less likely to contract Covid-19,” he concluded Josef NeuMD, professor in the department of pediatrics and division of neonatology at the UF College of Medicine.

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Source: Vanity Fair

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