Research reinforces that pregnant women are more at risk of dying from covid-19

posted on 01/14/2022 06:00

  (credit: JOAQUIN SARMIENTO)


(credit: JOAQUIN SARMIENTO)

Three studies released this week reinforce the need for pregnant women to be vaccinated against covid-19. Performed independently in different populations, all have similar results: infection with Sars-CoV-2 during pregnancy significantly increases the risk of death for both mother and baby, as well as other negative outcomes such as premature delivery and low birth weight. . One of the surveys, with data from 870,000 women who gave birth in the US, found a 15 times greater probability of death and 14 times greater intubation of infected, compared to those not affected by the virus.

The good news is that one of the articles evaluated the effect of vaccines: they were not only safe, but also prevented negative outcomes. Statistically, there was no increase in the likelihood of miscarriage, preterm birth, and birth defects. “While pregnant women are not at greater risk of catching Covid, they are at greater risk of complications than other women, including dying or requiring intensive care. And even if they do not need hospitalization, they are more likely to lose their babies,” she says. virologist Peter English, former director of Vaccines in Practice. “This emphasizes the point that pregnant women should be vaccinated, and that being pregnant is an extra reason to get immunized, not a contraindication.”

The American study, published on Wednesday in the journal Jama, compared adverse events among pregnant women who had or did not have covid between March 2020 and February 2021. Of these, 2.2% had been infected during pregnancy. The risk of preterm birth in the group who tested positive for Sars-CoV-2 was 42% higher. Furthermore, among the latter, the probability of being admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) was six times higher.

Published yesterday in the journal The Lancet Digital Health, another research showed that infection with Sars-CoV-2 during pregnancy increases the risk of premature birth, low birth weight and death of the baby, especially when the contagion occurs in the second and in the second. third quarter. Based on the medical records of more than 18,000 pregnant women who tested positive for Sars-CoV-2, the study, led by the Institute for Biological Systems, in the USA, found an increased risk of complications even in women with mild and moderate forms of the disease. “Covid-19 puts both maternal and fetal health at risk. This reinforces the need to protect pregnant women,” says Jennifer Hadlock, corresponding author of the article.

Hadlock says that other factors associated with negative outcomes in pregnancy and childbirth, such as older gestational age, were adjusted in the study to be sure of the association with Covid-19 infection. She notes that the data were collected when the vaccine was not yet widely available in the United States and says future research should indicate whether immunization can prevent the risks in infected, even vaccinated, women.

two doses

That’s what researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland did. The team analyzed data on all pregnancies in the country between December 2020 and October 2021. Until that month, 32% of pregnant women had received two doses of the vaccine for covid, a significantly lower percentage when compared to the general population (77 %). Unlike the US study, the increased risk of premature, stillbirth and newborn death was more common in women who contracted Sars-CoV-2 late in pregnancy, around 28 days before delivery. Most complications, including ICU admission, occurred among unvaccinated people. The study was published yesterday in the journal Nature Medicine.

According to the data, the extended perinatal mortality rate for women who had Covid-19 was 23 per 1,000 births. The index measures the death of the baby, in the womb, after 24 weeks of pregnancy or in the first 28 days after birth. In the analyzed period, all deaths of the type occurred among children whose mother had not been vaccinated. Statistics prior to the pandemic show that, in the country, this rate was 6 per thousand births.

Hospital admission was also significantly more common in pregnant women with covid-19 who were not vaccinated at the time of diagnosis than in immunized pregnant women. According to the study, 98% of those infected with Sars-CoV-2 during pregnancy who needed to be hospitalized in intensive care units had not taken the vaccine.

Finally, the researchers monitored complication rates in women who received the Covid vaccine during pregnancy. Perinatal mortality and preterm delivery rates within 28 days of receiving the vaccine were very similar to baseline statistics, providing further reassurance about the safety of vaccination during pregnancy. “Our data reinforce the evidence that vaccination in pregnancy does not increase the risk of complications, but Covid-19 does,” says Sarah Stock, an obstetrician and researcher at the Usher Institute at the University of Edinburgh.

It is necessary to vaccinate

“Based on these data and other studies now available that demonstrate the safety of vaccines at all stages of pregnancy, midwives, obstetricians and family physicians should urge pregnant women to get the vaccine and, if eligible, booster, for the benefit and their babies. There is nothing more distressing for families than losing a young mother and/or her baby to a preventable disease. Let’s act now to stop this from happening.”

Penny Ward, professor of pharmaceutical medicine at King’s College London

AstraZeneca: booster works

The British laboratory AstraZeneca released, yesterday, preliminary data from an ongoing study showing that the Vaxzevria vaccine, for covid-19, increased the immune response to all strains of Sars-CoV-2, including the omicron, when administered as a third party. booster dose. The results were verified in people previously immunized with the substance produced by the company or with an mRNA vaccine, such as the one from Pfizer. Previously, an article published on The Lancet’s prepress platform demonstrated that the same is true for people immunized with CoronaVac.

In a statement, AstraZeneca said it sent the data to health authorities around the world due to the “urgent need for third dose boosters”. According to Professor Andrew J Pollard, lead researcher and director of the Vaccine Group at the University of Oxford, “These important studies show that a third dose of Vaxzevria after two initial doses of the same vaccine, or after (the immunizers) of mRNA or inactivated viruses, strongly increases immunity against covid-19”. The safety trial showed that Vaxzevria continued to be well tolerated, with no serious side effects. Further analysis of the study is expected in the first half of the year. (DUST)

More attractive with mask

A study by Cardiff University in the United Kingdom found that Britons consider people to be more physically attractive when they wear protective masks against covid. “At a time when we feel vulnerable, we may find the use of medical masks comforting and thus feel more positive about the wearer,” said lead author, psychologist Michael Lewis, to The Guardian. The first part included the judgment of 43 women, who evaluated the faces of men with and without a mask. According to Lewis, soon, a new article will show that the male audience thinks the same as the female.

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