While scientists and researchers across the globe are working round the clock to search for a cure which is able to kill the virus and stop the infection from coming back, experts are currently researching if breastmilk can hold a potential cure for the deadly COVID-19.
Till now, mother’s milk has never been studied or researched in a fight to cure other viral strains, including the SARS or the MERSA virus.
Breastmilk, with its several benefits, is termed as one of most nutritious foods for a baby. Breast milk contains several antibodies, which help a growing baby fight against viruses, illness-causing germs and also cut down the risk of other infections, allergies. It also contains colostrum, which is rich in proteins enriching for the baby. Plus, since it’s naturally sterile, it is free of any harm.
Hence, there is no denying that breastmilk is a good choice. Scientists are now trying to study the effects of the same, considering that the antibodies in breastmilk can optimally “protect” against the disease since they come from the blood only. In fact, serving a protective purpose, they may be able to additionally promote short-term immunity in the body as well. Nursing mothers already produce antibodies which act against the flu and other infectious diseases, which are then passed on to the babies.
For the same, the participating milk samples are being checked for possible COVID-19 infections, the durability and the classes of antibodies present in the milk.
One of the main researchers, Rebecca Powell, based out of New York City, which has become the newest epicentre for disease spread believes that breastfeeding may have been able to save many children from catching the disease so far. Lactating women might have developed antibodies in response to the virus, which their breast milk is now passing on to their children. Whether a woman has tested positive for the disease or not, if she’s been exposed and is currently healthy, that means her body might have already swung into action creating antibodies. Those antibodies might then be passed into breast milk to help protect her infant against the disease.
Besides, the additionally nutrient-rich antibodies can also help fight some of the other side-effects associated with COVID-19 symptoms.
Is breastfeeding safe in the times of coronavirus?
Till now, there was no evidence that suggested COVID-19 can be passed on from the mother to the baby through breast milk. To prevent the spread of the virus, one is advised to practice sanitary measures and avoid contact with sick persons and limit close contact with the baby if you are coming down with the sickness.
The lead scientist, who specializes in human milk immunology also believes that breastmilk, if found to be the cure, it may be able to prevent future pandemics.
Around the world, several medical facilities are also trying their hand at antibody tests to see whether a person is more susceptible to developing a COVID-19 infection and his/her ability to fight the disease. In a similar way, convalescent plasma therapy is also being used to transfer plasma from a healthy, recovered person to a sick person to fight the virus.