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Preston university researchers say risk to newborn babies from coronavirus is low

Posted on - 28th May, 2020 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Health, Preston News, UCLan, University campus
A newborn baby Pic: Pixabay
A newborn baby Pic: Pixabay

Researchers at Preston’s university say a world-first study has shown the risk to newborn babies from coronavirus is classed as ‘low’.

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The University of Central Lancashire worked with staff at Blackpool Teaching NHS Foundation Trust on the research.

The team found only 10 cases, from analysis of more than 200 medical papers which included records of 75 births, where babies had tested positive for coronavirus in the first four weeks since birth.

Only two of the 10 cases saw the baby catch the virus from the mother while in the womb.

UCLan researchers said: “One case involved in the research was of a baby delivered 8-weeks prematurely in the UK by emergency caesarean and cared for by the research team, with the mother wearing a mask and no family contact during the birth, implying that this case was most likely transmitted directly from the mother to the child within the womb.”

The papers studied were published between 1 December 2019 and 12 May 2020.

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Lead author and professor of evidence synthesis and systematic review at UCLan, professor Morris Gordon, said: “This analysis of existing research points us toward a trend of COVID-19 being very rare within newborn babies, and having a mild impact if the newborn is infected.

“However, it is important to highlight that this is solely based on analysis of previously published scientific studies, and new parents and healthcare workers should continue to take all necessary precautions advised by their respective health authorities.

“There is still much more to be understood about this new virus, and additional research must to be carried out in the coming weeks and months to fully understand the risk posed by COVID-19 to babies and young children.”

They found in all of the ten cases of Covid-19 in newborns that none of them needed additional treatment and there were no significant effects on the health of the babies as a result of coronavirus.

Read more: UCLan turns over engineering buildings to produce PPE for the NHS

Co-author and middle-grade paeditrician at the Blackpool NHS Trust, Dr Taher Kagalwala, said: “This research reinforces that this virus seems to affect different groups of people in very different ways, and that there is still much to understand about its impact.

“We hope that these conclusions, combined with continuing research, will offer valuable insights into how the global medical community can best keep children and families safe and well.”

The analysis was published in the British Medical Journal.

Read more: UCLan staff scoop national midwifery award

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