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SARS-CoV-2 antibodies detected in human breast milk post-vaccination

By Jill K. Baird, Shawn M. Jensen, Walter J. Urba, Bernard A. Fox, Jason R. Baird

Posted 02 Mar 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.02.23.21252328

Importance: The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has infected over a hundred million people worldwide, with almost 2.5 million deaths at the date of this publication. In the United States, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were first administered to the public starting in December 2020, and no lactating women were included in the initial trials of safety/efficacy. Research on SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in lactating women and the potential transmission of passive immunity to the infant through breast milk is needed to guide patients, clinicians and policy makers during the worldwide effort to curb the spread of this virus. Objective: To determine whether SARS-CoV-2 specific immunoglobins are found in breast milk post-vaccination, and to characterize the time course and types of immunoglobulins present. Design:.Prospective cohort study Setting: Providence Portland Medical Center, Oregon, USA Participants: Six lactating women who planned to receive both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine between December 2020 and January 2021. Breast milk samples were collected pre-vaccination and at 11 additional timepoints, with last sample at 14 days post 2nd dose of vaccine. Exposure: Two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. Main Outcome(s) and Measure(s): Levels of SARS-CoV-2 specific IgA and IgG immunoglobulins in breast milk. Results: In this cohort of 6 lactating women who received 2 doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, we observed significantly elevated levels of SARS-CoV-2 specific IgG and IgA antibodies in breast milk beginning at Day 7 after the initial vaccine dose, with an IgG-dominant response. Conclusions and Relevance: We are the first to show that maternal vaccination results in SARS-CoV-2 specific immunoglobulins in breast milk that may be protective for infants.

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