PCMD research about mother-to-child covid transmission

A comprehensive study conducted by Dr. Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), University of Karachi, concluded that the risk of transmission of Covid SARS-2 from an infected mother to the neonate is extremely rare.
The spokesman of the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi, said on Monday that the study was conducted at the National Institute of Virology in collaboration with Zainab Panjwani Memoria Hospital and financial support of the JS Bank Future Trust.
In meeting with the group of researchers, Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary, Director of the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences, and COMSTECH Coordinator-General appreciated the efforts that the researchers made.
In this study, 140 pregnant women were randomly enrolled and tested for infection from March 18 to December 31, 2021, the spokesman said, adding that the majority of the women who participated in this study were from the Districts Central and East of Karachi.
The official said, “This study included women during different SARS-COV-2 waves and was closely monitored for different variants’ effects.”
The enrolled women showed mild to moderate symptoms, he said, adding that no case of severe symptoms was observed even during the peak of the waves. The women with and without infection showed a similar clinical picture, indicating an overall little clinical impact of the infection, he said. Hence, COVID-19 infection in pregnancy is not a risk factor for C-sections, miscarriage, preterm births, or maternal mortality, he mentioned. Though the virus could not be detected in any baby immediately after birth, the transfer of antibodies was commonly observed, the PCMD official maintained. He said, “Therefore, the vaccination of pregnant women can be utilized as a precautionary measure to stop the spread of the disease to newborns.”
Strict care should be given to the newborns with infected mothers, as the transmission was observed in a baby on the seventh day of birth, he said, and added that the genomic analysis confirmed that the baby was infected with the same variant infecting the mother.
No such controlled study has been conducted on the South Asian population during the pandemic.
It is pertinent to mention here that the studies based on immunological assays provided mixed results in the past because antibodies can cross blood placental barriers, as it is observed in this study as well. The strength of the current study is that it is based on qPCR and genomics analysis and effectively clarifies the ambiguities regarding the vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2.


GCU Holds Webinar On Coronavirus Vaccine and Related Myths

LAHORE: A webinar on “Coronavirus vaccine and myths related to it” was held at the Government College University Lahore under the auspices of its Disease Awareness and Prevention Society.

The two-hour webinar, addressed by the renowned infectious diseases and internal medicine expert  Dr. Faheem Younus and Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Asghar Zaidi aimed at diminishing misconceptions regarding the coronavirus and its vaccines.

The medicine expert provided updated and authentic information to the university students regarding its future prospects in Pakistan.

Addressing the webinar via zoom Dr. Younus said that two successful RNA-based vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) would be soon available in the global biotech market for all countries and explained their mode of operation.

He added that these vaccines identify the spike proteins and then synthesize mRNA products, which after giving signals to the body, self-destructs and dissolves in the system.

With this exploratory analysis, Dr. Younas tried to bust the myth of lasting side effects.  He expressed Pakistan would be able to prioritize and systematically distribute the vaccine, upon its reception, first among its front line workers, then among older people and finally the youth.

“Vaccines may cause minimal side effects in some people but would overall be beneficial,” Dr Younas said.

Vice Chancellor Prof. Zaidi enlightened the participants and the fellow panellists about the importance of vaccines especially to the older people which have been the focal point of his research endeavours.

GCU VC also apprised the audience regarding the  initiatives by GCU Lahore in these difficult and demanding times to raise awareness about coronavirus and practically support the frontline health workers.