Maternal Antibody Response and Transplacental Transfer Following Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Infection or Vaccination in Pregnancy

Sebastian Otero, Emily S. Miller, Ashwin Sunderraj, Elisheva D. Shanes, Allie Sakowicz, Jeffery A. Goldstein, Leena B. Mithal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Pregnant persons are at increased risk of severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and adverse obstetric outcomes. Understanding maternal antibody response, duration, and transplacental transfer after severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and COVID-19 vaccination is important to inform public health recommendations. METHODS: This prospective observational cohort study included 351 pregnant people who had SARS-CoV-2 infection or COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy. Immunoglobulin (Ig) G and IgM to SARS-CoV-2 S1 receptor binding domain were measured in maternal and cord blood. Antibody levels and transplacental transfer ratios were compared across (1) disease severity for those with SARS-CoV-2 infection and (2) infection versus vaccination. RESULTS: There were 252 individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection and 99 who received COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy. Birthing people with more severe SARS-CoV-2 infection had higher maternal and cord blood IgG levels (P = .0001, P = .0001). Median IgG transfer ratio was 0.87-1.2. Maternal and cord blood IgG were higher after vaccination than infection (P = .001, P = .001). Transfer ratio was higher after 90 days in the vaccinated group (P < .001). Modeling showed higher amplitude and half-life of maternal IgG following vaccination (P < .0001). There were no significant differences by fetal sex. CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy leads to higher and longer lasting maternal IgG levels, higher cord blood IgG, and higher transfer ratio after 90 days compared with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Greater infection severity leads to higher maternal and cord blood antibodies. Maternal IgG decreases over time following both vaccination and infection, reinforcing the importance of vaccination, even after infection, and vaccine boosters for pregnant patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-228
Number of pages9
JournalClinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 13 2023


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • antibody
  • pregnancy
  • vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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