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International Perspectives Concerning Donor Milk Banking During the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Pandemic

Author: Kathleen A. Marinelli
Year: 2020
Resource type: Research

Background

On December 31, 2019 the first case of what is now known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARSCoV-2) was reported to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In late December 2019, in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, clusters of patients with pneumonia of unknown cause, linked to a seafood and animal wholesale market there, began to surface. By January 3, 2020, 44 cases were reported in China. Chinese authorities isolated a novel coronavirus, on January 7, 2020, and shared its genetic sequence on January 12. It was identified in Thailand on January 13, Japan on January 15, and January 20 in Korea. Deaths were already being reported in China. The first case in the United States was reported on January 21, a U.S. citizen who had been in Wuhan. Human to human transmission was suggested by January 24, and by the 25th it had spread to Australia and France. By January 27 it was confirmed in 11 countries outside of China. On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the COVID-19 outbreak was a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The first two cases were reported in Italy on January 31 (World Health Organization, 2020a). The spread continued, and on March 11 WHO characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic, acknowledging the disease’s geographical spread. On March 16, the total number of cases and deaths outside China surpassed the totals in China. On March 24, 2020, the date of this writing, there are 395,647 confirmed cases and 17,240 deaths worldwide (Johns Hopkins University Medicine, 2020). These numbers will certainly be higher at publication.

The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) announced the name of this novel coronavirus as “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARSCoV-2)” on February 11. This name was chosen because the virus is genetically related, but different, to the coronavirus responsible for the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003 (World Health Organization, 2020b). WHO shortened the name coronavirus disease 2019 to “COVID-19.” 

In addition to the concerns for the general public, there are heightened concerns for the more at risk populations: the elderly, those with comorbidities, and the immunosuppressed. Another population of concern is pregnant women. The other two well-known coronaviruses, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV) have both been documented as causing severe maternal and perinatal complications during pregnancy (Alfaraj et al., 2019; Wong et al., 2004). At this point there are sparse reports of COVID-19 in pregnant women. Chen et al. (2020) reported nine cases, all in their third trimester, from Wuhan in January 2020. All nine women delivered liveborn healthy infants via cesarean deliveries, with no significant complications. Amniotic fluid, cord blood, neonatal throat swabs, and milk samples from six of the mothers were tested for SARS-CoV-2, and all samples tested negative for the virus. We will come back to this finding.

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Kathleen A. Marinelli (2020). International Perspectives Concerning Donor Milk Banking During the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Pandemic. www.ennonline.net/donormilkbankingcovid19

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