Covid-19 Vaccine in Nursing Mothers May Protect Babies

We may have good news: Vaccination against Covid-19 in nursing mothers could actually work to protect not only them, but their babies as well. This was found in a new study conducted jointly by Tel Aviv University and Tel Aviv-Ichilov Sourasky Medical Center, in order to find out if Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine was effective in producing antibodies in breast milk and also to determine the qualities of these antibodies (if they have the potential to neutralize the virus).

The study was conducted during the months of January and February 2021, shortly after the arrival of the vaccines in Israel, and included 10 nursing mothers. The volunteers received two injections of the vaccine, 21 days apart, and antibody levels in both blood and breast milk were tested at four times after vaccination.

It was found that the blood and breast milk are well synchronized with respect to the increase in the levels of the specific antibodies generated by the vaccine. In both blood and breast milk, the significant increase occurs 14 days after the first injection and continues 7 days after the second. Antibodies that develop in breast milk have the potential to neutralize the virus and thus prevent disease by preventing the virus from binding to receptors on host cells.

The leading research team at Tel Aviv University included Dr. Yariv Wine and PhD student Aya Kigel from the Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research at the Faculty of Life Sciences. The Lis Maternity and Women’s Hospital team at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center was led by Dr. Michal Rosenberg-Friedman and Prof. Ariel Many.

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