Vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2: a brief literature review

Moukit Mounir, Assia El Ouardi, Abdellah Babahabib, Mehdi El Hassani, Jaouad Kouach


As COVID-19 virus is still spreading, more infections in pregnant women are likely to be seen. At this time, very little is known about vertical transmission of SARS-COV-2 from infected pregnant woman to her infant. Authors reviewed the risk of vertical transmission of COVID-19 by using data of published articles and official websites up to May 11, 2020. The searches revealed 16 articles (12 case reports/series and 4 retrospective studies) collectively comprising 194 infected pregnant women with COVID-19. 140 cases of neonates delivered from pregnant women with COVID-19 were collected. The SARS-COV-2 nucleic acid test, in day 2, was positive in 4 newborns. Based on limited data, there is no evidence for vertical transmission of COVID-19. Some studies suggestive of maternal-fetal transmission deserve careful evaluation before a definitive finding.


Infected mother, Neonate, Pregnancy, SARS-CoV-2, Vertical transmission

Full Text:



Chen Y, Liu Q, Guo D. Emerging coronaviruses: genome structure, replication, and pathogenesis. J Med Virol. 2020;92(4):418-23.

Zhu N, Zhang D, Wang W, Li X, Yang B, Song J, et al. A novel coronavirus from patients with pneumonia in China, 2019. N Engl J Med. 2020;382:727-33.

Li N, Han L, Peng M, Lv Y, Ouyang Y, Liu K, et al. Maternal and neonatal outcomes of pregnant women with COVID-19 pneumonia: a case-control study. Pre-print; 2020.

Zeng L, Xia S, Yuan W, Yan K, Xiao F, Shao J, et al. Neonatal early-onset infection with SARS-CoV-2 in 33 neonates born to mothers with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China. JAMA Pediatr. 2020:InPress.

Liu W, Wang J, Li W, Zhou Z, Liu S, Rong Z. Clinical characteristics of 19 neonates born to mothers with COVID-19. Front Med. 2020:Epub ahead of print.

Breslin N, Baptiste C, Gyamfi-Bannerman C, Miller R, Martinez R, Bernstein K, et al. COVID-19 infection among asymptomatic and symptomatic pregnant women: two weeks of confirmed presentations to an affiliated pair of New York City hospitals. Am J Obstet Gynecol MFM. 2020:100118.

Zhang L, Jiang Y, Wei M, Cheng BH, Zhou XC, Li J, et al. Analysis of the pregnancy outcomes in pregnant women with COVID-19 in Hubei province. Zhonghua Fu Chan Ke Za Zhi. 2020;55(0):E009.

Yang H, Sun G, Tang F, Peng M, Gao Y, Peng J, et al. Clinical features and outcomes of pregnant women suspected of coronavirus disease 2019. J Infect. 2020;81(1):e40-4.

Liu D, Li L, Wu X, Zheng D, Wang J, Yang L, et al. Pregnancy and perinatal outcomes of women with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pneumonia: a preliminary analysis. Am J Roentgenol. 2020:1-6.

Liu Y, Chen H, Tang K, Guo Y. Clinical manifestations and outcome of SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy. J Infect. 2020;S0163-4453(20):30109-2.

Zhu H, Wang L, Fang C, Peng S, Zhang L, Chang G, et al. Clinical analysis of 10 neonates born to mothers with 2019-nCoV pneumonia. Transl Pediatr. 2020;9(1):51-60.

Chen H, Guo J, Wang C, Luo F, Yu X, Zhang W, et al. Clinical characteristics and intrauterine vertical transmission potential of COVID-19 infection in nine pregnant women: a retrospective review of medical records. Lancet. 2020;395:809-15.

Yu N, Li W, Kang Q, Xiong Z, Wang S, Lin X, et al. Clinical features and obstetric and neonatal outcomes of pregnant patients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective, single-centre, descriptive study. Lancet Infect Dis. 2020;20(5):559-64.

Chen Y, Peng H, Wang L, Zhao Y, Zeng L, Gao H, et al. Infants born to mothers with a new coronavirus (COVID-19). Front Pediatr. 2020;8:104.

Chen S, Huang B, Luo DJ, Li X, Yang F, Zhao Y, et al. Pregnant women with new coronavirus infection: a clinical characteristics and placental pathological analysis of three cases. Zhonghua Bing Li Xue Za Zhi. 2020;49:E005.

Tasnim Agency. Birth of a neonate from infected mother COVID-19 in Babol city, 2020. Available at: Accessed on 4th March 2020.

Dong L, Tian J, He S, Zhu C, Wang J, Liu C, et al. Possible vertical transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from an infected mother to her newborn. JAMA. 2020;323(18):1846-8.

Peng Z, Wang J, Mo Y, Duan W, Xiang G, Yi M, et al. Unlikely SARS-CoV-2 vertical transmission from mother to child: a case report. J Infect Public Health. 2020;S1876-0341(20):30439-1.

Gagneur A, Dirson E, Audebert S, Vallet S, Legrand-Quillien MC, Laurent Y, et al. Materno-fetal transmission of human coronaviruses: a prospective pilot study. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2008;27:863-6.

Ng PC, Leung CW, Chiu WK, Wong SF, Hon EK. SARS in newborns and children. Biol Neonate 2004;85:293-8.

Alserehi H, Wali G, Alshukairi A, Alraddadi B. Impact of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS‐CoV) on pregnancy and perinatal outcome. BMC Infect Dis. 2016;16(1):1-4.

Yu N, Li W, Kang Q, Zeng W, Feng L, Wu J. No SARS-CoV-2 detected in amniotic fluid in mid-pregnancy. Lancet Infect Dis. 2020;PMC7176395

Landes M, van Lettow M, Nkhoma E, Tippett Barr B, Truwah Z, Shouten E, et al. Low detectable postpartum viral load is associated with HIV transmission in Malawi’s prevention of mother-to-child transmission programme. J Int AIDS Soc 2019;22:e25290.