An American mother recovered from Coronavirus and now her breast milk contains COVID-19 antibodies.
Just when we thought breast milk couldn’t get any better, a US study shows breast milk can contain COVID-19 antibodies.
Michelle signed up for a study that examined breast milk from lactating women that have either contracted coronavirus or been in very close contact with someone that tested positive to coronavirus. Having tested positive for it herself, Michelle signed up and sent her breast milk in for testing.
Both Michelle and her mother tested positive for COVID-19, however, neither of her sons showed any symptoms.
Her Facebook post explained:
“I just received this email from the doctor conducting the research on the antibodies in the breast milk.”
“I have antibodies but there’s no further evidence to suggest immunity but as I told you guys, both me and my mother had it and was around my two boys and neither of them have been sick”
The logic behind the study
Medical researcher Rebecca Powell, Ph.D. explains that the protective properties of breast milk could help scientists find a treatment for COVID-19. Powell explains that the antibodies in breast milk are powerful disease-fighting proteins, which protect babies from viral infections.
Gaps in studies when it comes to breast milk
Even though breast milk is known for its health benefits, it has not been studied extensively beyond the realms of the positive developmental impact it has on infants. While breast milk is celebrated for its healing abilities in newborns, there is no concrete research regarding whether or not a virus can be spread through it.
“It was never done with SARS, it was never done with MERS, and even for flu, which is so well-studied,” said Powell. “The data on milk protection is actually really sparse, unfortunately.”
Collecting breast milk
Powell has been flooded with women wanting in on the action.
“There’s a lot of lactating people out there that are getting infected and would be ready and willing to donate milk — I can tell you because I have hundreds of emails of people who want to participate, and many of them have said they had highly suspected infection or a positive test,” she said.
Paying $5 per ounce of milk donated, Powell is arranging for samples to be collected from each donor’s home. She is also accepting breast milk from donors outside of the city of New York. That is, provided they are confirmed or suspected to have been COVID-19 positive. People at a high risk of exposure are also able to send their milk in for the study.
Every few weeks, participants are asked to freeze their breast milk. This will continue over the next year, however, anyone involved may opt out at any point during the study.
Powell has started the study by searching for antibodies in the breast milk of women who tested positive for COVID-19. The antibodies will be analysed to evaluate their virus-killing abilities.
The end result Powell hopes for?
For doctors to separate the immune properties in the milk and infuse it into patients.
Powell believes the solution to COVID-19 could be in breast milk “and I don’t think it should be overlooked.”