Is the Zika virus directed against women and childbirth

Corona (vaccination) and pregnancy

Should I be vaccinated against corona if I want to have children or as a pregnant woman? What is the risk of infection with the virus for my unborn child? There are many worries and fears of those affected around the subject of corona (vaccination) and pregnancy. Prof. em. Dr. (B) Frank Vandenbussche, section head of obstetrics at Helios Klinikum Duisburg, answers the most frequently asked questions.

Is there an increased likelihood of a corona infection during pregnancy?

First of all, it is perhaps reassuring to know that most diseases of pregnant women with the corona virus are largely associated with little or no symptoms. This is because pregnant women naturally belong to the younger age groups. Especially in the first and second trimester, the probability of a severe course is only about two percent. In the third trimester, the number increases slightly to around four percent. What exactly is the reason is still unclear. Compared to non-pregnant women of the same age, the risk of a severe course is slightly higher, which is probably also due to the double burden on the immune system, which after all has to protect two cycles.

What are the risk factors associated with a corona infection during pregnancy?

On the one hand, of course, the mother is affected by a disease that cannot yet be treated with the appropriate medication. In addition, if the course of the pregnancy is severe, treatment is increasingly difficult because the drug administration must also always take into account the effects it will have on the unborn child. If the mother's lungs are also badly affected and the oxygen supply in the blood falls as a result, this has direct effects on the child, who then no longer receives adequate care. A caesarean section may have to be performed here.
A transmission of the corona virus via the placenta to the child is, on the other hand, rather unlikely according to the current state of science, for this the virus would have to settle in the blood and also dock to the appropriate receptors in the placenta and in the child. There have been isolated reports of infected newborns, but it is not always clear when the infection took place, i.e. whether before the birth or during or after the birth.
Malformations in children due to the mother being infected with SARS-CoV2 during pregnancy are not known, unlike the Zika virus or other pathogens, for example.

What are the current recommendations for a SARS-CoV2 vaccination during pregnancy?

In January, the STIKO (Standing Vaccination Commission of the Robert Koch Institute) published current recommendations on the subject, in which pregnancy in itself is not yet an indication for a vaccination. However, she points out that the partners of the expectant mothers should be vaccinated in order to protect the pregnant woman. Currently, pregnant women can name two close contact persons who should be vaccinated and thus fall into group 2.
If pregnant women belong to a priority 1 risk group, for example if they work in a clinic or a nursing home, there is nothing against vaccination and it is even recommended. Of course, manufacturers of vaccinations protect themselves with appropriate warnings in the package inserts, because studies on pregnant women are not permitted for ethical reasons. So far, however, there are no indications that an mRNA vaccination poses a risk for mother and child.

There are rumors that the vaccine is said to have an impact on fertility. Reason to worry?

It is claimed that the antibodies that are directed against the spike protein are also directed against structures of the placenta and thereby prevent pregnancy. It is true that the body's own protein syncytin-1 and the spike protein of the Sars-CoV-2 pathogen have marginal similarities. But if the myth were true, women would be sterile even after a corona infection or there would be a risk for the existing pregnancy. But studies show that this is not the case.
Perhaps it is also important to know how the vaccination mechanism works: The mRNA vaccine contains the genetic information for the above-mentioned spike protein of the corona virus. This information is introduced into the human cell, the protein is recreated and presented to the immune system. The mRNA is then broken down again within a very short time and not incorporated into the human DNA, because it lies in the cell nucleus, remains untouched during this process and is not rewritten.