Jan 29, 2024

Study highlights potential protective effects of breastmilk against COVID-19


A recent study from the Department of Nutritional Science, University of Toronto provides compelling evidence regarding the potential protective effects of breast milk against SARS-CoV-2 and was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study was led by Dr. Deborah O' Connor who is also Earle W. McHenry Professor and chair of Temerty Medicine’s department of nutritional sciences and her team. The study analyzed breast milk from three cohorts: those who had contracted COVID-19 while pregnant or nursing, routine milk bank donors, and individuals receiving two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy or nursing. Antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 were detected in roughly half of the COVID-19 positive cohort and less than 5% of routine milk bank donors. Interestingly, the study found higher antibody levels in individuals vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine compared to Pfizer-BioNTech, and shorter intervals between vaccine doses were unexpectedly associated with higher antibody levels. Additionally, some breast milk samples prevented SARS-CoV-2 infection in a lab setting, even with undetectable antibody levels, suggesting other active components in human milk. While promising, the researchers emphasize that further studies are needed to confirm the tangible protection of breast milk against COVID-19 in infants. The work involved collaboration between Sinai Health System/University Health Network, the Roger Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank, and the Toronto High Containment Facility.

Read more: https://ajcn.nutrition.org/article/S0002-9165(23)66182-9/fulltext