Global WACh

December 28, 2022

COVID-19 in Pregnancy Study Team presents findings on SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses at IDWeek 2022


Drs. Janet Englund (Seattle Children’s Hospital) and Sylvia LaCourse at IDWeek 2022. Credit: Sylvia LaCourse.

Dr. Sylvia LaCourse, Assistant Professor in Global Health and Medicine-Allergy & Infectious Diseases, presented on behalf of the COVID-19 in Pregnancy Study team on SARS-COV-2 antibody response in pregnant people at the Infectious Disease Society of America’s (IDSA) conference, IDWeek 2022, in Washington D.C from October 19-23, 2022.

This work examined antibody responses in pregnant people infected with SARS-COV-2. Some participants also received COVID-19 vaccine. Both natural infection and vaccine induced an immune response that initially confers high levels of antibody against COVID-19. Natural SARS-CoV-2 infection results in the development antibodies specific to the virus’ structural proteins (anti-nucleocapsid and anti-spike antibodies), while anti-spike antibody response (conferred by infection and/or vaccination) is more closely associated with protection. The antibodies are the first line of defense against SARS-CoV-2 and bind to the virus and attack it directly or block it from infecting cells.

This study found that the long-term immunity of the anti-spike antibody response was longer than that of the nucleocapsid antibody response, irrespective of vaccine status, and that vaccination during pregnancy was associated with higher anti-spike antibody at baseline and delivery compared to those unvaccinated. This promising result supports data from other studies that suggest vaccines protect pregnant people from serious illness from COVID-19.

While participant enrollment has closed, the study team continues to investigate maternal antibody durability and transplacental transfer which has implications for maternal and infant protection and susceptibility for COVID-19 disease. Collaborators include UW faculty and staff members Drs. Alexander Greninger, Alisa Kachikis, Janet Englund, and Alison Drake and Morgan Aurelio, DNP, ARNP-CNM and Jaclyn Escudero, MPH and, as well as collaborators from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).