Rick & Marques

Mechanisms of Maternal Antibody Protection in Human Milk and Blood against SARS-CoV2 in Young Children

Children less than 6 months of age are at increased risk of complications from COVID-19 and are not eligible for the vaccine leaving them vulnerable. Our previous work shows that lactating women who either had infection or were vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 have antibodies against the virus in their breastmilk. Next, we seek to understand potential ways those antibodies in milk may protect infants from the virus. To do this, we will use milk samples collected from lactating women who were either vaccinated or infected with SARS-CoV-2 over the past two years and evaluate whether milk antibodies reduce the infectiousness of the virus or activate other immune products found in milk such as complement. By learning how milk antibodies may protect infants against infection, we can better inform vaccination strategies and counseling for pregnant and lactating women.