Maternal COVID-19 infection produces fetal immune response

COVID-19 infection during pregnancy may cause inflammatory immune responses in the fetus, even if the virus does not infect the placenta, according to a small National Institutes of Health study published this week in the journal Nature Communications. The researchers evaluated antibodies, immune cell types and inflammatory markers in maternal blood, umbilical cord blood and placental tissues from 23 pregnant women. The authors call for further study of the potential long-term effects of this inflammatory process on infants. (NIH news release, 1/18/22)