Concern over COVID-19 is warranted for many reasons, but here’s one more: Fetal brain tissue from infected mothers has been shown to contain viral particles.
Thus, experts have been aggressively investigating the illness’s consequences on the bodies of still-gestating newborns, in addition to its effects on adults.
Among the 661 samples of human fetal tissue gathered between July 2020 and April 2022, the investigators found hemorrhages in 26. All of the tissue samples that had signs of bleeding also contained COVID-19. All of the samples were from pregnancies that were decidedly cut short.
While hemorrhages in developing brains are not unheard of, having three within 21 months is highly rare. Scientists pointed to indicators of tissue injury, such as a decline in blood vessel integrity and an uptick in immune cell infiltration into the brain. The mother’s immunological response or the COVID-19 infection itself might both be responsible for this.
Despite the limited confirmation of coronavirus in fetal tissues, it is likely that the illnesses were transmitted from an infected mother. It is unclear if the bleeding was caused by the mother’s COVID, the fetus’s illness, or some other unknown source. This connection, though, is significant enough to cause alarm.
In addition, most of the samples showing evidence of hemorrhaging were from the late first and early second trimester of gestation, indicating that the embryonic brain may be harmed as early as the first trimester. There’s no need to tell you that this is a pivotal moment for the growing brain because of how it builds defenses.
Tissue tests from the placenta, amnion, as well as umbilical cord also revealed low levels of SARS-CoV-2, indicating that the presence of COVID-19 may cause additional difficulties.
Infections in pregnant women are often linked to neurological harm in their offspring, with the Zika virus being one of the most high-profile examples in recent years.
Existing research has linked fetal health issues to COVID-19 in pregnant moms, but this area of study has a tiny data pool, which researchers want to expand in the future.