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Oct 28, 2021
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Pregnant women with COVID-19 transmit more antibodies to girls than boys

A new study was conducted by specialists at the Massachusetts General Hospital with the participation of 68 expectant mothers who suffered from mild to moderate COVID-19 during pregnancy. Half of them carried girls, half – boys. To obtain the most objective data, the participants were matched with similar demographic and medical characteristics. The body weight of all newborns was within the normal range.

None of the newborns contracted the coronavirus from their mothers, which was confirmed by PCR tests. But when scientists evaluated the levels of neutralizing antibodies in mothers and babies in umbilical cord blood samples and placental tissue, significant differences were found. Women who were pregnant with boys had lower antibody levels than expectant mothers of girls. In addition, boys received less antibodies from their mothers than girls, potentially indicating poorer protection against infection.

“It is clear that there is some kind of cross-talk between the fetal and maternal immune systems,” the study authors said.

According to scientists, after infection of the mother, boys could develop an inflammatory response, from which girls are more protected. Inflammation can also prevent a pregnant woman from developing a full immune response. It is noteworthy that in the case of infection with other serious infections, such as the virus and influenza and whooping cough, there are no such differences in antibody titers in girls and boys, the scientists noted.

“It remains unclear whether abnormalities in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies across the placenta could make boys more vulnerable to infection at an early age,” the authors said.


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