BRIEF REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202209.0063.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; Placental Pathology; Apgar Scores; Gestational Age; Under-resourced Patient Population
Online: 5 September 2022 (13:17:10 CEST)
Abstract. Babies born to severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infected mothers are at greater risk for perinatal morbidity and more likely to receive a neurodevelopmental diagnosis in the first year of life. However, the effect of maternal infection on placental function and neonatal outcomes varies depending upon the patient population. We set out to test our hypothesis that maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection in our underserved, socioeconomically disadvantaged, predominantly African American and Latina population in the Bronx, NY would have effects evident at birth. Fifty-five SARS-CoV-2 positive and 61 negative third trimester patients were randomly selected from Montefiore Medical Center (MMC), Bronx, NY. In addition, two positive cases from Yale New Haven Hospital, CT were included as controls. All 55 placentas delivered by SARS-CoV-2 positive mothers were uninfected by the virus, based on immunohistochemistry, in-situ hybridization, and qPCR analysis. However, placental villous infarcts, mild preeclampsia, shortened gestational periods and lower Apgar scores were observed in the infected cases. These findings suggest that even without entering the placenta, SARS-CoV-2 can affect various systemic pathways culminating in altered placental development and function, which may adversely affect the fetus, especially in a high-risk patient population such as ours. These results underline the importance of vaccination among pregnant women, particularly in low resource areas.