Fetuses and placentas of pregnant women, especially those infected with COVID-19 At earlier points in the epidemic, a greater risk of experiencing growth impairment or vascular lesions in the limbs and brain was found, according to a new research.
According to the research, the results demonstrated that the different strains of the virus that emerged during the pandemic caused varying degrees of damage, which was particularly high with the pre-Omicron variant. The study states that the detected placental lesion could potentially harm both development and health in some of the affected unborn babies.
Using prenatal magnetic resonance imaging, a group from the Medical University of Vienna in Austria examined placentas and fetuses of women who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 during pregnancy, the study said. The research was published in the journal – The Lancet Regional Health – Europe.
While such damage occurs more frequently and is less severe with the currently circulating Omicron sub-lineage, the study authors still advocate early detection measures for pregnant women who test positive for the coronavirus. The study noted that in contrast to previous studies, in which abnormalities related to SARS-CoV-2 were identified only after birth and/or through histopathological procedures, the research team focused on prenatal imaging findings.
Using prenatal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the study scanned 76 placentas and fetuses of pregnant women: 38 after confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection (pre-Omicron or Omicron versions) and 38 healthy controls cases, the study said.
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The study found that placentas revealed abnormalities in both the Pre-Omicron and Omicron groups. “Infections with pre-omicron variants, such as delta, cause significantly more damage in the form of vascular events such as blood clots or bleeding, compared to omicron subvariants currently circulating through the population,” said lead author Patrick Kynaste. outlined a key. Conclusion of the study.
The study states that the researchers attribute the different extent of damage to the placenta caused by different virus strains to the fact that the Omicron sub-lineage is less likely to cause severe cases than their predecessors , And the epidemic has increased due to the high vaccination rate. ,
“In any case, our results showed that two non-vaccinated study participants developed placental abnormalities following infection with SARS-CoV-2 omicroncompared to only one in six women who received three doses of the vaccine,” confirmed senior author Gregor Caspian.
Oxygen, nutrients, and metabolic products are exchanged between the mother and the baby across the placenta. Attached to the uterine wall, this organ forms such a strong barrier against the coronavirus that only 3 percent or less of fetuses whose mothers test positive for SARS-CoV-2 are also infected, the study says. But as the study shows, the placenta itself is not immune to complications caused by COVID-19. After this, some unborn babies experience stunted growth or bleeding in the brain, the study says.
Citing the importance of the scan, Daniela Pray from the Medical University of Vienna advised, “That is why the placenta of pregnant women infected with SARS-CoV-2 should be examined as soon as possible.” Especially in the case of possible future coronavirus variants with mechanisms similar to Delta, for example.
By doing so, the study says, there is a chance to take measures to protect the health of the fetus in the worst case scenario.
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