It is unknown whether COVID-19 positive mothers transmit SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in their
breast milk to protect their newborns or if breastfeeding can pose a risk of infection (either
through consumption of virus or direct contact with the mother during feedings). Scientists
hypothesize that (1) the breast milk of these mothers may have SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing
antibodies which may confer protection; or (2) their breast milk can pose a risk of infection if the
virus is shed in breast milk and consumed by the infant. Limited data are available thus far to
support either hypothesis. As a result, SARS-CoV-2 related breastfeeding recommendations
from the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) differ. However, previous research has shown that
consumption of breast milk in early life confers immunity against several infectious diseases.
Evidence-based recommendations for any guidelines require research and clinical studies.
The goals of this research are to address this gap and determine if breast milk consumption can
confer immunity. These goals will be met through the following specific aims.
Specific Aim 1. Detect and quantify SARS-CoV-2 IgM/IgG/IgA antibodies that are present
in breast milk and saliva from mother/infant dyads over 6 months.
Specific Aim 2. Detect the presence of neutralizing antibodies in breast milk and saliva
samples from mother/infant dyads.
Specific Aim 3. Determine if and how consumption of breast milk from a COVID-19
positive mother affects SARS-CoV-2 infection, progression and possible recurrence in