Thousands of women donate breast milk for coronavirus research
Thursday, 20 August 2020
Some 5,000 women have responded to a Dutch hospital’s call to donate breast milk in the name of coronavirus research.
Research by the Emma Children’s Hospital shows that the breast milk of women who have had a Covid-19 infection contains antibodies against the coronavirus. Researchers are now investigating whether the milk can be used to prevent coronavirus infections.
To this end, the hospital launched a campaign earlier this week to recruit a thousand women who want to donate breast milk. These women are asked to pump 100 millilitres for the Breast Milk Bank.
The response was “overwhelming. Our researchers are extremely enthusiastic about the large response,” said a spokesperson for the Children’s Hospital, part of Amsterdam UMC (the University Medical Centre).
It remains to be seen whether the breast milk is indeed effective as a preventive treatment against the coronavirus. In that case, the milk can possibly be used in at-risk groups in case of another coronavirus wave.
The research is a collaboration of the Experimental Virology department of Amsterdam UMC with the Dutch Breast Milk Bank, Wageningen Research & Development, Utrecht University, Sanquin and Viroclinics.