Amsterdam hospital studying whether breast milk can protect against coronavirus
Researchers at Amsterdam University Medical Center are studying whether breast milk can be used to protect vulnerable groups, like the elderly and young babies, against the coronavirus. They are looking into whether mothers who have recovered from Covid-19 have antibodies against the virus in their breast milk.
"It is perhaps a strange picture, elderly people drinking breast milk," researcher Brit van Keulen said on the Amsterdam UMC website. "But if it protects against a deadly virus, we should just get over that embarrassment."
It is already well established that breast milk protects newborn children against respiratory infections, Van Keulen explained. "This is because there are antibodies in breast milk. By breastfeeding, the mother passes her own antibodies to her child."
Information about a pregnant woman during the 2003 Sars outbreak, gives her hope that there will also be Covid-19 antibodies in breast milk. "This woman became seriously infected with the Sars virus and gave birth to a healthy baby at 38 weeks. Antibodies to that virus were found in her breast milk. If you know that the coronavirus is very similar to the Sars virus - they are from the same family - then I think that corona antibodies can also end up in breast milk."
The researchers are looking for 30 women who had a confirmed Covid-19 infection and who are currently breastfeeding.