The National Institutes of Health has launched a study to track the prevalence and impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection among approximately 16,000 pregnant women in seven low- and middle-income countries. The study will follow women through pregnancy and 12 months after childbirth to compare maternal, fetal and newborn outcomes of participants who have been infected with the virus to those of pregnant women who have not been infected.
At delivery, women enrolled in the study will receive an antibody test to determine if they have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2. Researchers hope to determine if infection increases the risk of complications such as preterm birth, fetal growth restriction, stillbirth, newborn death and birth defects. They also hope to assess participants’ knowledge and attitudes of COVID-19 during pregnancy, including safety, protective practices and prenatal care. Women in the study will also be invited to participate in a follow-up analysis to determine if maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection influences infant outcomes such as cerebral palsy, developmental delays and hearing and vision abnormalities.
The study is being conducted by the Global Network for Women’s and Children’s Health Research, a group of clinical sites funded by NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The participating countries are Guatemala, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia.
NICHD Director Diana W. Bianchi, M.D., is available for comment.
About the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD): NICHD leads research and training to understand human development, improve reproductive health, enhance the lives of children and adolescents, and optimize abilities for all. For more information, visit https://www.nichd.nih.gov.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit https://www.nih.gov.