Breastmilk Won’t Pass On Covid To Kid: Jipmer Study
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Covid-19 positive mothers do not pass on the infection to their babies through breastmilk, says a study by Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (Jipmer) in Puducherry.

A team led by professor and head Dr B Adhisivam collected breastmilk samples from 30 Covid-19 positive mothers between 48 hours and 72 hours after delivery and sent them for tests. The mothers then exclusively breastfed their babies practising all precautionary measures such as the use of masks, appropriate hand hygiene and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces. The members also took nasal and throat swab samples of the babies one two days after and another five days after birth and sent them for RT-PCR tests.

“All the breastmilk samples were negative for coronavirus except one. A repeat sample of breastmilk from the same mother was also negative when rechecked the next day. All the swabs of the babies were also negative for coronavirus could not find evidence for transmission of coronavirus from mother to child through breastmilk in the population studied,” said Adhisivam.

Though the positivity among delivering mothers increased proportionate to that of the general population, their babies were not affected. “Even the odd breastmilk sample which was initially positive could be due to contamination. Recent studies from Wuhan, China and the United States have also shown similar findings. All postnatal mothers irrespective of their Covid status should be encouraged to exclusively breastfeed their babies and follow general safety precautions.

Moreover, coronavirus-reactive antibodies in breastmilk may also provide passive immunity to breastfed infants and protect them against Covid-19,” said Adhisivam. The team cited a study done in the US, which concluded that the milk produced by infected mothers is a ‘source of antiSars-Cov-2 IgA and ’ and ‘neutralizes Sars-Cov-2 activity’ and recommended breastfeeding during mild to moderate maternal Covid-19 illness.

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