French doctors have confirmed the first case of a newborn baby contracting COVID-19 inside the womb. The child's mother, who is 23 years old, contracted the coronavirus while she was 35 weeks pregnant. She went to the hospital with a fever and a cough, and gave birth to her son by cesarean section.
When doctors tested the boy, they found he also had COVID-19. They believe the virus entered the boy's bloodstream through the placenta.
Within three days, the boy began to suffer from muscle spasms and irritability. After 11 days, doctors noticed inflammation in the boy's brain.
The boy, who is now three months old, recovered without treatment and was released from the hospital after 18 days. The child is "very much improved, almost clinically normal," Dr. Daniele De Luca said in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Communications. His mother also recovered from her viral infection.
There have been other cases in which newborn babies have tested positive for COVID-19, but doctors could not prove they had been infected in the womb.
"Other cases of potential perinatal transmission have recently been described, but presented several unaddressed issues," the researchers wrote. "For instance, some failed to detect [Covid-19] in neonates or only reported the presence of specific antibodies; others found the virus in the newborn samples but the transmission route was not clear as placenta, amniotic fluid."
Photo: Getty Images