The number of cases of coronavirus that cause COVID-19 infection is swelling each day. The global cases have crossed the 16-million mark. India alone reported more than 1.40 million COVID-19 cases, with Maharashtra being at the top. Over the days, researchers understood the possible symptoms and how it can potentially spread among individuals and animals as well. But media experts also believe that there is a lot to know. So far, it was unclear whether and how vertical transmission of SARS-COV-2 is possible, if the virus can be transmitted from mother to the foetus. But recently a few cases have been reported by international journals. India as well documented the first case of vertical transmission of COVID-19 from mother to child leading to severe disease in the infant. The case was reported and documented by BJ Medical College and Sassoon General Hospital in Pune, Maharashtra. COVID-19 New Symptoms: Mouth Rashes, Clinically Known As Enanthem, Listed As Possible Symptom for Coronavirus, Reveals Study. 

India’s First Case of Vertical Transmission of COVID-19

Researchers at BJMC are of the opinion that this is the first proven case of transplacental transmission of COVID-19 from a pregnant woman to the foetus. The baby, a girl, had was kept in intensive care and recovered completely after three weeks. The dean of BJMC, Dr Murlidhar Tambhe, reported that the girl was discharged in June, 2020.

Explaining how the child was infected, the officials of the hospital stated that the mother was tested negative for the virus in the RT-PCR test. But the virus was detected in the baby’s nasopharyngeal swab, placenta and umbilical cord. This confirmed the medical experts that the transmission of COVID-19, in this case, was vertical. The doctors also pointed out that the 22-year-old mother had a fever the day before the delivery and showed signs of weaknesses. But since she was tested negative for COVID-19, it was presumed that her condition could be due to pregnancy.

“Although she tested negative for the virus, she did transmit the infection in the child. However, after four weeks when we did an antibodies test, there was evidence of Covid-19 infection by a strong antibody response. It is possible that she recovered on her own. This was a very challenging case for us,” Dr Aarti Kinikar, head in the paediatric department at the hospital was quoted in Hindustan Times.

What is Vertical Transmission?

A vertically transmitted infection is caused by pathogens such as bacteria and viruses that use mother to child transmission. The transmission is directly from the mother to an embryo, fetus or baby during pregnancy or childbirth. It can happen if the mother has a pre-existing disease or is infected during pregnancy. Vertical transmission is well documented in the Zika virus and HIV, but scientific literature about the possibility of the same in COVID-19 is scarce.

In the report, Dr Kinikar further confirmed that the COVID-19 cases of vertical transmission were reported in China and one in the United Kingdom. The department said that they had documented the case and the paper has been accepted for publication in a US-based international journal. In April, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had stated in a report there was evidence to suggest that a pregnant woman can transmit the novel coronavirus to her unborn baby.W

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jul 28, 2020 11:31 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website