Functional Antibodies Against SARS-CoV-2 Receptor Binding Domain Variants with Mutations N501Y or E484K in Human Milk from COVID-19-Vaccinated, -Recovered, and -Unvaccinated Women.
Breastfeeding medicine : the official journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. 2022;(2):163-172
Background: New variants are evolving in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and receptor binding domain (RBD) mutations have been associated with a higher capacity to evade neutralizing antibodies (NAbs). We aimed at determining the impact of COVID-19 vaccine and infection on human milk antibody titers and activity against the RBD mutations from SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. Materials and Methods: Milk samples were collected from 19 COVID-19 vaccinated women, 10 women who had a positive COVID-19 PCR test, and 13 unvaccinated women. The titers and NAbs of secretory IgA (SIgA)/IgA, secretory IgM (IgM)/IgM, and IgG against SARS-CoV-2 RBD with mutations N501Y or E484K were measured by using ELISA and a surrogate virus neutralization assay. Results: The titers of human milk IgG against N501Y were higher in the COVID-19 vaccine group than in the no-vaccine group but comparable with the COVID-19 PCR group. Other antibody titers did not differ between the three groups. The titers of SIgA/IgA were higher than those of SIgM/IgM and IgG in all three groups. The titers of SIgM/IgM and the inhibition of NAbs were higher against the mutation E484K than N501Y. Milk NAb did not differ between the three groups, but the inhibition of NAb against binding of the two mutant RBD proteins to their receptor was higher in the COVID-19 vaccine and PCR groups than in milk from prepandemic women. Conclusions: COVID-19 vaccination and exposure of mothers to SARS-CoV-2 influenced the titers and NAbs in breast milk against the variants of concern.
Titres and neutralising capacity of SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies in human milk: a systematic review.
Archives of disease in childhood. Fetal and neonatal edition. 2022;(2):174-180
OBJECTIVE Synthesise evidence on production of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in human milk of individuals who had COVID-19, and antibodies' ability to neutralise SARS-CoV-2 infectivity. DESIGN A systematic review of studies published from 1 December 2019 to 16 February 2021 without study design restrictions. SETTING Data were sourced from PubMed, MEDLINE, Embase, CNKI, CINAHL and WHO COVID-19 database. Search was also performed through reviewing references of selected articles, Google Scholar and preprint servers. Studies that tested human milk for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 were included. PATIENTS Individuals with COVID-19 infection and human milk tested for anti-SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibodies. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES The presence of neutralising antibodies in milk samples provided by individuals with COVID-19 infection. RESULTS Individual participant data from 161 persons (14 studies) were extracted and re-pooled. Milk from 133 (82.6%) individuals demonstrated the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin A (IgA), IgM and/or IgG. Illness severity data were available in 146 individuals; 5 (3.4%) had severe disease, 128 (87.7%) had mild disease, while 13 (8.9%) were asymptomatic. Presence of neutralising antibodies in milk from 20 (41.7%) of 48 individuals neutralised SARS-CoV-2 infectivity in vitro. Neutralising capacity of antibodies was lost after Holder pasteurisation but preserved after high-pressure pasteurisation. CONCLUSION Human milk of lactating individuals after COVID-19 infection contains anti-SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG, IgM and/or IgA, even after mild or asymptomatic infection. Current evidence demonstrates that these antibodies can neutralise SARS-CoV-2 virus in vitro. Holder pasteurisation deactivates SARS-CoV-2-specific IgA, while high-pressure pasteurisation preserves the SARS-CoV-2-specific IgA function.
Human Milk from Previously COVID-19-Infected Mothers: The Effect of Pasteurization on Specific Antibodies and Neutralization Capacity.
BACKGROUND Since the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), many put their hopes in the rapid availability of effective immunizations. Human milk, containing antibodies against syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), may serve as means of protection through passive immunization. We aimed to determine the presence and pseudovirus neutralization capacity of SARS-CoV-2 specific IgA in human milk of mothers who recovered from COVID-19, and the effect of pasteurization on these antibodies. METHODS This prospective case control study included lactating mothers, recovered from (suspected) COVID-19 and healthy controls. Human milk and serum samples were collected. To assess the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies we used multiple complementary assays, namely ELISA with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (specific for IgA and IgG), receptor binding domain (RBD) and nucleocapsid (N) protein for IgG in serum, and bridging ELISA with the SARS-CoV-2 RBD and N protein for specific Ig (IgG, IgM and IgA in human milk and serum). To assess the effect of pasteurization, human milk was exposed to Holder (HoP) and High Pressure Pasteurization (HPP). RESULTS Human milk contained abundant SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in 83% of the proven cases and in 67% of the suspected cases. Unpasteurized milk with and without these antibodies was found to be capable of neutralizing a pseudovirus of SARS-CoV-2 in (97% and 85% of the samples respectively). After pasteurization, total IgA antibody levels were affected by HoP, while SARS-CoV-2 specific antibody levels were affected by HPP. Pseudovirus neutralizing capacity of the human milk samples was only retained with the HPP approach. No correlation was observed between milk antibody levels and neutralization capacity. CONCLUSIONS Human milk from recovered COVID-19-infected mothers contains SARS-CoV-2 specific antibodies which maintained neutralization capacity after HPP. All together this may represent a safe and effective immunization strategy after HPP.
Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through breast milk and breastfeeding: a living systematic review.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2021;(1):32-54
The pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by infection with a novel coronavirus strain, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). At present, there is limited information on potential transmission of the infection from mother to child, particularly through breast milk and breastfeeding. Here, we provide a living systematic review to capture information that might necessitate changes in the guidance on breast milk and breastfeeding given the uncertainty in this area. Our search retrieved 19,414 total records; 605 were considered for full-text eligibility and no ongoing trials were identified. Our review includes 340 records, 37 with breast milk samples and 303 without. The 37 articles with analyzed breast milk samples reported on 77 mothers who were breastfeeding their children; among them, 19 of 77 children were confirmed COVID-19 cases based on RT-PCR assays, including 14 neonates and five older infants. Nine of the 68 analyzed breast milk samples from mothers with COVID-19 were positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA; of the exposed infants, four were positive and two were negative for COVID-19. Currently, there is no evidence of SARS-CoV-2 transmission through breast milk. Studies are needed with longer follow-up periods that collect data on infant feeding practices and on viral presence in breast milk.
COVID-19 mRNA Vaccination in Lactation: Assessment of Adverse Events and Vaccine Related Antibodies in Mother-Infant Dyads.
Frontiers in immunology. 2021;:777103
BACKGROUND Data regarding symptoms in the lactating mother-infant dyad and their immune response to COVID-19 mRNA vaccination during lactation are needed to inform vaccination guidelines. METHODS From a prospective cohort of 50 lactating individuals who received mRNA-based vaccines for COVID-19 (mRNA-1273 and BNT162b2), blood and milk samples were collected prior to first vaccination dose, immediately prior to 2nd dose, and 4-10 weeks after 2nd dose. Symptoms in mother and infant were assessed by detailed questionnaires. Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels in blood and milk were measured by Pylon 3D automated immunoassay and ELISA. In addition, vaccine-related PEGylated proteins in milk were measured by ELISA. Blood samples were collected from a subset of infants whose mothers received the vaccine during lactation (4-15 weeks after mothers' 2nd dose). RESULTS No severe maternal or infant adverse events were reported in this cohort. Two mothers and two infants were diagnosed with COVID-19 during the study period before achieving full immune response. PEGylated proteins were not found at significant levels in milk after vaccination. After vaccination, levels of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG and IgM significantly increased in maternal plasma and there was significant transfer of anti-SARS-CoV-2-Receptor Binding Domain (anti-RBD) IgA and IgG antibodies to milk. Milk IgA levels after the 2nd dose were negatively associated with infant age. Anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies were not detected in the plasma of infants whose mothers were vaccinated during lactation. CONCLUSIONS COVID-19 mRNA vaccines generate robust immune responses in plasma and milk of lactating individuals without severe adverse events reported.
COVID-19 mRNA vaccine and antibody response in lactating women: a prospective cohort study.
BMC pregnancy and childbirth. 2021;(1):632
BACKGROUND Immunological protection via breastfeeding is well known. The immunological profile of human milk changes during lactation. No clinical trials have been conducted in lactating women with the newest mRNA vaccines against SARS- CoV-2. A Few studies have shown the presence of antibodies in breastmilk after vaccination. The aim of this work is to study possible antibodies transfer via breastmilk and also the immunological characteristics of lactating women compared to non-lactating women, after using the BNT162b2 Pfizer vaccine. METHODS This is a prospective cohort study with a convenience homogenous sample of 24 healthcare workers (14 lactating and 10 non-lactating women) enrolled at the time of COVID-19 vaccination. Clinical data was registered in a questionnaire. Titers of SARS-CoV-2 spike IgG, IgA and IgM were quantified in post vaccination blood and human milk. Antibody quantification was performed by an in-house ELISA to SARS-CoV-2 trimeric spike protein. RESULTS All women showed immunity after vaccination with positive antibodies for IgM, IgA and IgG antibodies. The dominant serum antibody response was IgG. Modest levels of antibodies in breastmilk of lactating mothers were observed in this study, especially IgG in 42.9%. There was a moderate association between higher titers of IgG and a longer duration of breastfeeding (R= 0.55, p=0.041). CONCLUSIONS Evidence of antibody transfer in human milk after COVID-19 vaccination is scarce. The presence of antibodies in human milk is reported, but immunization through breastfeeding is still to be established.
SARS-CoV-2 genome and antibodies in breastmilk: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Archives of disease in childhood. Fetal and neonatal edition. 2021;(5):514-521
OBJECTIVE To systematically review and meta-analyse the rate of SARS-CoV-2 genome identification and the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in breastmilk of mothers with COVID-19. DESIGN A systematic review of studies published between January 2019 and October 2020 without study design or language restrictions. SETTING Data sourced from Ovid Embase Classic+Embase, PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, relevant bibliographies and the John Hopkins University COVID-19 database. PATIENTS Mothers with confirmed COVID-19 and breastmilk tested for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR or for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Presence of SARS-CoV-2 genome and antibodies in breastmilk. RESULTS We included 50 articles. Twelve out of 183 women from 48 studies were positive for SARS-CoV-2 genome in their breastmilk (pooled proportion 5% (95% CI 2% to 15%; I2=48%)). Six infants (50%) of these 12 mothers tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, with one requiring respiratory support. Sixty-one out of 89 women from 10 studies had anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody in their breastmilk (pooled proportion 83% (95% CI 32% to 98%; I2=88%)). The predominant antibody detected was IgA. CONCLUSIONS SARS-CoV-2 genome presence in breastmilk is uncommon and is associated with mild symptoms in infants. Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies may be a more common finding. Considering the low proportion of SARS-CoV-2 genome detected in breastmilk and its lower virulence, mothers with COVID-19 should be supported to breastfeed.
Breastfeeding and COVID-19: From Nutrition to Immunity.
Frontiers in immunology. 2021;:661806
Breastfeeding not only provides the optimum source of nutrients for the neonate and its first strong shield against infection but also lays the foundation for somatic and psychological bonding between the mother and child. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, although the guidelines of the relevant international and national agencies recommend breastfeeding by SARS-CoV-2-infected mothers, considerable insecurity persists in daily clinical practice regarding the safety of the infants and the perceived advantages and disadvantages of discontinuation of breastfeeding. This is a systematic review of the currently available information regarding the transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 through or while breastfeeding and the protection against infection that breast milk might provide. The accumulated body of knowledge regarding the role of breast milk in the development of the neonatal immune system and protection against infection by other respiratory viruses is discussed, with a focus on the anti-inflammatory role of the antibodies, microbes, and viruses provided to the infant in breast milk and its relevance to the case of SARS-CoV-2.
Breast Milk and Breastfeeding of Infants Born to SARS-CoV-2 Positive Mothers: A Prospective Observational Cohort Study.
American journal of perinatology. 2021;(11):1209-1216
OBJECTIVE There are limited published data on the transmission of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus from mothers to newborns through breastfeeding or from breast milk. The World Health Organization released guidelines encouraging mothers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to breastfeed as the benefits of breastfeeding outweighs the possible risk of transmission. The objective of this study was to determine if SARS-CoV-2 was present in the breast milk of lactating mothers who had a positive SARS-CoV-2 nasopharyngeal swab test prior to delivery, and the clinical outcomes for their newborns. STUDY DESIGN This was a single-center, observational, prospective cohort study. Maternal-newborn dyads that delivered at New York University Langone Hospital Brooklyn with confirmed maternal SARS-CoV-2 positive screen test at the time of admission were recruited for the study. Breast milk samples were collected during postpartum hospitalization and tested for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 genes N1 and N2 by two-step reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Additionally, the clinical characteristics of the maternal newborn dyad, results of nasopharyngeal SARS-CoV-2 testing, and neonatal follow-up data were collected. RESULTS A total of 19 mothers were included in the study and their infants who were all fed breast milk. Breast milk samples from 18 mothers tested negative for SARS-CoV-2, and 1 was positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. The infant who ingested the breast milk that tested positive had a negative nasopharyngeal test for SARS-CoV-2, and had a benign clinical course. There was no evidence of significant clinical infection during the hospital stay or from outpatient neonatal follow-up data for all the infants included in this study. CONCLUSION In a small cohort of SARS-CoV-2 positive lactating mothers giving birth at our institution, most of their breast milk samples (95%) contained no detectable virus, and there was no evidence of COVID-19 infection in their breast milk-fed neonates. KEY POINTS · Breast milk may rarely contain detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA and was not detected in asymptomatic mothers.. · Breast milk with detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA from a symptomatic mother had no clinical significance for her infant.. · Breast feeding with appropriate infection control instructions appears to be safe in mother with COVID infection..
Congenital, Intrapartum and Postnatal Maternal-Fetal-Neonatal SARS-CoV-2 Infections: A Narrative Review.
BACKGROUND There is inconclusive evidence regarding congenital, intrapartum, and postnatal maternal-fetal-neonatal SARS-CoV-2 infections during the COVID-19 pandemic. A narrative review was conducted with the aim of guiding clinicians on the management of pregnant women with respect to congenital, intrapartum, and postnatal maternal-fetal-neonatal SARS-CoV-2 infections and breastfeeding during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS Searches were conducted in Web of Science, PubMed, Scopus, Dialnet, CUIDEN, Scielo, and Virtual Health Library to identify observational, case series, case reports, and randomized controlled trial studies assessing the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from mother to baby and/or through breastfeeding during the COVID-19 pandemic. RESULTS A total of 49 studies was included in this review, comprising 329 pregnant women and 331 neonates (two pregnant women delivered twins). The studies were performed in China (n = 26), USA (n = 7), Italy (n = 3), Iran (n = 2), Switzerland (n = 1), Spain (n = 1), Turkey (n = 1), Australia (n = 1), India (n = 1), Germany (n = 1), France (n = 1), Canada (n = 1), Honduras (n = 1), Brazil (n = 1), and Peru (n = 1). Samples from amniotic fluid, umbilical cord blood, placenta, cervical secretion, and breastmilk were collected and analyzed. A total of 15 placental swabs gave positive results for SARS-CoV-2 ribonucleic acid (RNA) on the fetal side of the placenta. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was found in seven breastmilk samples. One umbilical cord sample was positive for SARS-CoV-2. One amniotic fluid sample tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. CONCLUSIONS This study presents some evidence to support the potential of congenital, intrapartum, and postnatal maternal-fetal-neonatal SARS-CoV-2 infections during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mothers should follow recommendations including wearing a facemask and hand washing before and after breastfeeding.