Breast milk from recovered women as a preventive medicine against coronavirus? In Holland the study starts

Could the breast milk of women who have been infected be used as "medicine" for the most vulnerable patients thanks to its antibodies?

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Are there antibodies to coronavirus in the breast milk of mothers who have had a COVID-19 infection? If so, could that same milk be used as a medicine, like plasma, for the most vulnerable patients? Dutch researchers are attempting to answer these questions through a study that has already registered nearly a thousand women.

They are the scholars of the UMC university hospital in Amsterdam, who want to analyze the antibodies in the breast milk of at least 30 new mothers who are breastfeeding and who have had the coronavirus, to understand whether or not that precious food can have a preventive effect even against the coronavirus. For this on the university website they invite women cured of COVID-19 who are breastfeeding or pregnant. More than 1000 applications were received at the address

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"We know that breast milk protects infants from respiratory infections," said Britt van Keulen, doctor of the Dutch Mother's Milk Bank at Amsterdam UMC and first author of the study in a press release. This is because there are antibodies in breast milk. Breastfeeding, the mother passes her own antibodies to her child ”.

The precedent with SARS

Van Keulen is convinced that antibodies to the Sars-COV2 virus also pass into breast milk. In 2003, a pregnant woman was infected with the SARS virus. She gave birth to a healthy baby, says Van Keulen, and antibodies to the SARS virus were found in her breast milk. The corona virus is very similar to the SARS virus, "so I think coronavirus antibodies end up in breast milk too."

Now, the Amsterdam researchers want to examine whether the antibodies found in the breast milk of women who have certainly been infected with the coronavirus can survive the necessary pasteurization process and be useful as preventive medicine for vulnerable people such as infants or the elderly.

The big question is, that is, whether sufficient antibodies remain when breast milk is pasteurized.

“Warming of breast milk is necessary because it kills pathogens. The antibodies will certainly be lost, but we think - based on previous studies - that enough will remain ".

A follow-up study undoubtedly among the most interesting during this pandemic, true, but for now it is almost impossible to predict the amount of milk needed per person. About 3.500 Dutch women between the ages of 25 and 40, the researchers conclude, have had the coronavirus, although it is not known how many are breastfeeding. With the numbers of infections constantly increasing, how could we act in a truly preventive manner?

Fonte: Amsterdam UMC / Het Parool /

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