Research analysis suggests newborn babies unlikely to contract COVID-19

on 02 June 2020

Global research analysis suggests newborn babies catching coronavirus (COVID-19) within the first four weeks of life is low.

The research analysis, published in the BMJ Paediatrics Open Journal, is the first global analysis of existing scientific studies related to COVID-19 and newborn babies.

The analysis considered 200 research papers which included 75 newborns, with 10 cases of newborns reportedly testing positive for COVID-19 within the first four weeks of birth but did not require further treatment.

In these cases it was found there were no significant effects on the health of newborns as a result of COVID-19.

Of the 10 newborn babies that tested positive for COVID-19, two contracted the virus while still in the womb.

Lead Author and Professor of Evidence Synthesis and Systematic Review at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), Professor Morris Gordon, said: “This analysis of existing research points us toward a trend of COVID-19 being very rare within newborn babies, and having a mild impact if the newborn is infected.

“However, it is important to highlight that this is solely based on analysis of previously published scientific studies, and new parents and healthcare workers should continue to take all necessary precautions advised by their respective health authorities.

“There is still much more to be understood about this new virus, and additional research be carried out in the coming weeks and months to fully understand the risk posed by COVID-19 to babies and young children.”

The analysis was carried out by academics at UCLan in collaboration with staff at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The papers reviewed were dated between 1 December 2019 and 12 May 2020.

The full paper can be accessed on the BMJ Paediatrics Open website here.