A new study in Nature Communications found that SARS-CoV-2 infection may result in inflammatory immune responses, affecting fetal development despite whether or not infection hits the placenta.
While it has been established in prior studies that pregnant women are at a higher risk for severe illness related to COVID-19, its impact on fetal development is still the subject of rigorous discussion and research.
Experts at the National Institutes of Health centered on 23 women infected with SARS-CoV-2 during gestation. Severity ranged from asymptomatic, mild, and severe symptoms.
The study unveiled that pregnant women infected with the coronavirus experienced a decrease in T-cells, while mothers saw higher levels of immune activity markers in the vlood, as well as the development of antibodies.
“Here we show that SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy primarily induces unique inflammatory responses at the maternal-fetal interface, which are largely governed by maternal T cells and fetal stromal cells,” the study’s authors explained in the journal report.
“Importantly, SARS-CoV-2 is not detected in the placental tissues, nor is the sterility of the placenta compromised by maternal viral infection. This study provides insight into the maternal-fetal immune responses triggered by SARS-CoV-2 and emphasizes the rarity of placental infection.”