Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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Maternal COVID-19 disease and COVID-19 immunization

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-11-07, 09:12 authored by Amala Sunder, Bessy Varghese, Omer Taha, Mohamed S Keshta, Ameena Khalid Bughamar, Enas Nadir Abelhamid Mohamed, Yusra Mirghani Aljailani Fadhulalla, Basma Darwish

Aim: This study aimed to evaluate the immune response and vertical transmission of anti-severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) antibodies in vaccinated, expectant mothers infected with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and to study the sequelae.

Study design: This was a retrospective study of pregnant women conducted at Bahrain Defense Force Hospital from March 2021 to September 2021. The study population was divided into two groups: group 1 was vaccinated with Sinopharm or Pfizer/BioNTech during pregnancy and never infected with COVID-19. Group 2 was unvaccinated and had been infected with COVID-19. Immune responses such as anti-nucleocapsid (anti-N) and anti-spike (anti-S) from paired samples of maternal and umbilical cord blood were measured with Elecsys immunoassay (Roche Holding AG: Basel, Switzerland) at the time of delivery. Obstetric complications such as preterm labor, preeclampsia, and stillbirth were assessed. Analysis was performed using SPSS version 26.0 (IBM Corp: Armonk, NY) and Minitab version 18 (Minitab, LLC: State College, PA). A p-value of less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results: The study included 90 vaccinated and 90 COVID-19-recovered pregnant women. Matched samples were available for 80 vaccinated and 74 COVID-19-recovered women. Group 1 had significantly higher levels of anti-S for both the mother and the cord blood and a significantly higher transfer ratio of anti-S. Group 2 had higher levels of anti-N. In group 1, the paired sample titer of anti-S had a weak negative correlation with maternal age whereas, in group 2, the mother’s anti-N had a weak positive correlation with age. Antibodies of COVID-19-recovered mothers and cord blood had a moderate negative correlation with gestational age, except for the mother’s anti-N. In group 1, the transfer ratio of anti-N and anti-S had a statistically significant association with gestational age. Preterm delivery had a high prevalence of anti-transfer ratios of <1, and delivery at >37 weeks had a high prevalence of ≥1. In group 2, 90% of preterm deliveries had transfer ratios of anti-S <1. The latency period of the COVID-19 group had a statistically significant association with the antibody transfer ratio. An interval of less than 100 days had a high prevalence in the ratio of <1. An interval of more than 100 days had a high prevalence in the ratio of ≥1. There was no significant latency period in group 1. Group 1 had a 75% prevalence of an anti-S transfer ratio ≥1 with a birth weight of >3500 g; group 2 had no significance in birth weight. We did not find significance in the sequelae of morbidities in either group.

Conclusion: The production of the antibody N in the COVID-19-infected and antibody S in the vaccinated pregnant women as well as the vertical transmission of antibodies was efficacious. Significant variation was found regarding maternal age in both groups. The transfer ratio of the antibodies in the vaccinated and COVID-19- recovered women was significantly higher in terms of babies of the vaccinated and the infected population. The transfer ratios were distinct according to the latency period and birth weight of the infants. 



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Published Citation

Sunder A, et al. Maternal COVID-19 disease and COVID-19 immunization. Cureus. 2022;14(8):e28328.

Publication Date

23 August 2022

PubMed ID



  • RCSI Bahrain


Cureus, Inc.


  • Published Version (Version of Record)