Three of the four tested negative for the respiratory infection following a throat swab, while the fourth child's mother declined permission for the test, they said.
"It suggests that, compared with adult patients, clinical manifestations of children's COVID-19 may be less severe", the researchers concluded.
On March 12, a joint team from Wuhan University, Fudan University and Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology published a study on NEJM, saying that COVID-19 could cause moderate to severe respiratory disease in some children.
None of the newborn children built up any severe symptoms related to COVID-19, for example, fever or cough; however, all were at first isolated in neonatal intensive care units and fed formula. One mother had severe shortness of breath after giving birth and needed help breathing, but survived.
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All nine births were brought to term by C-section, while three of the four pregnancies in the current study were also delivered by C-section. Only one pregnant mother adopted vaginal delivery because of the onset of the labor process. "This report had also concluded that there was "... now no evidence for intrauterine infection caused by vertical transmission in women who develop COVID-19 pneumonia in late pregnancy". The baby was normal.
She said that as far as the effect on the foetus is concerned, there are now no data suggesting an increased risk of miscarriage or early pregnancy loss, intrauterine infection with COVID so, unlikely that there will be congenital effects of the virus on fetal development.
Liu et al. followed four pregnant women who presented with symptomatic COVID-19 infections during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. "The impact of this separation, even as a precautionary measure, can be significant for both the baby and the mother".
"Case series like this, although providing important information at the outset of an epidemic, are not able to address all the knowledge gaps about COVID-19 in pregnancy-for those we need specific research studies focused on pregnant women", said Thorne.
However, Caress Lee Carpenter, public relations officer with Chatham-Kent Public Health, said there now appears to be no added risk for women who are pregnant. Another theory is that the receptor in human cells to which the virus binds is not fully developed in children and less likely to act as a gateway for COVID-19 to invade.