Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 vertical transmission during pregnancy

Claudio Fenizia, Mara Biasin, Irene Cetin, Patrizia Vergani, Davide Mileto, Arsenio Spinillo, Maria Rita Gismondo, Francesca Perotti, Clelia Callegari, Alessandro Mancon, Selene Cammarata, Ilaria Beretta, Manuela Nebuloni, Daria Trabattoni, Mario Clerici, Valeria Savasi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection during gestation remains unclear. Here, we analyse the viral genome on maternal and newborns nasopharyngeal swabs, vaginal swabs, maternal and umbilical cord plasma, placenta and umbilical cord biopsies, amniotic fluids and milk from 31 mothers with SARS-CoV-2 infection. In addition, we also test specific anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and expression of genes involved in inflammatory responses in placentas, and in maternal and umbilical cord plasma. We detect SARS-CoV-2 genome in one umbilical cord blood and in two at-term placentas, in one vaginal mucosa and in one milk specimen. Furthermore, we report the presence of specific anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgM and IgG antibodies in one umbilical cord blood and in one milk specimen. Finally, in the three documented cases of vertical transmission, SARS-CoV-2 infection was accompanied by a strong inflammatory response. Together, these data support the hypothesis that in utero SARS-CoV-2 vertical transmission, while low, is possible. These results might help defining proper obstetric management of COVID-19 pregnant women, or putative indications for mode and timing of delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5128
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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