No evidence of active SARS-CoV-2 in breastmilk of infected w
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Almost since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have raised worries that the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) could be transmitted to infants born to infected mothers via breastmilk. As a result, these mothers face conflicting advice on breastfeeding, with many organizations advising them to continue breastfeeding as long as they observe precautions to prevent respiratory droplet spread. A recent study published in the journal JAMA in August 2020 suggests that SARS-CoV-2 RNA does not represent the replication-competent virus and that breast milk may not be a source of infection for infants.
Currently, 24 case reports have been published on the viral content of breastmilk samples from women who were infected with SARS-CoV-2. Of these, 10 samples, from 4 women, were found to have viral RNA. However, the studies failed to confirm if the presence of the virus was due to maternal infection and not because of retrograde flow from the oral cavity of an infected agent. Another possibility is that of environmental contamination.

Secondly, the presence of viral RNA as detected by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is not the same as the presence of infectious viral particles. Until this point, infectious virions have not been isolated from breastmilk. Moreover, the undisputed infection of a single infant through breastmilk is yet to be proved. This study implies that breast milk may not be a route of vertical transmission. Pasteurization of breastmilk samples also resulted in failure to detect either viral RNA or culturable virus.
This shows that breastfeeding can be continued even in the presence of maternal infection, and milk from milk banks can be safely used without the risk of transmitting the virus to the woman. The study was small, and the sample was not random. Thus a more extensive study needs to be carried out with more stringent procedures to validate this preliminary result.