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COVID-19 and pregnancy – an update from the 2020 Cord Blood Connect


Research suggests that COVID-19 is not present in birthing tissues collected at the time of birth.

Welcome to our Friday update where we have news from the recent 2020 Cord Blood Connect attended by Biovault Family’s CEO Kate Sneddon.


Usually an annual conference held in Miami, this year’s event moved to a virtual platform allowing attendees to stay up to date with the latest developments and advances in the use of cord blood.


While topics such as advances in cord blood transplantation, public banking alongside family banking and Mesenchymal Stromal Cell (MSC) developments were discussed, high on the agenda was the impact of COVID-19.

Much has been learned by the Cord Cell industry during the pandemic including outcomes for babies and cord stem cells collected from mothers who had COVID-19.

Whilst this is a developing area of data review and research, Joanne Kurtzberg, President of the Cord Blood Association gave an interesting presentation on the findings so far from studies and data from across the world.

Joanne shared data suggesting from the limited studies available that transmission of COVID-19 from an infected mother to the baby via the placenta (known as vertical transmission) does not appear to happen with COVID-19.

Despite this, there have been very limited cases where the infant has developed COVID-19 post birth, but this is likely due to infection post birth. This is also supported by the data that there appears to be

little evidence that COVID-19 is present in birthing tissues collected at the time of birth. However, donors are being screened as the data is limited and even a small risk is considered too big a risk at this point.

The data presented also suggested that infants born to mothers infected with COVID-19 appear to do well and are not impacted by the COVID-19 during pregnancy.

Despite this positive news, it remains critical that we ensure social distancing is maintained during the collection process for umbilical cord stem cells, physical contact with the mother is minimised and clean environments are maintained.

As always, at Biovault Family we remain guided by our ethics, standards and commitment to quality, and work with our partner organisations and hospitals to continue collections during this difficult time.

Biovault Family's CEO Kate Sneddon

BSc (Hons) Microbiology

Chief Executive Officer | Biovault Family

Biovault Family CEO, Kate Sneddon, joined Biovault in July 2009 and became Chief Executive Officer in 2016. As health industry professional her experience includes working as a microbiologist and leader at GSK for over 10 years. Her expertise in cord blood banking has been recognised in her awards, features in Parliamentary Review and Parents Guide to Cord Blood, as well as contributions to research with UCL and others.


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