Mothers who contracted COVID-19 while pregnant or dealt with the virus after giving birth have more reasons to breastfeed their babies. New research shows that breast milk may help in fighting COVID-19.

The antibodies that are naturally found in breastmilk seems to be able to wage war against SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. Although the research is still at its early stages, there is evidence that shows that the antibodies found in breast milk can help protect children against lower-respiratory diseases, ABC7News reported.

Dr. Laura Ward, a doctor at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, stated that the prospect of antibodies in breast milk helping the fight against COVID-19 is exciting.

"It makes sense that breastfeeding is protective against this virus," said Ward in WCPO. She also said that she thinks they are starting to come up with the evidence.

Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) are trying to discover if breast milk has an innate ability to prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading, or if a mother who has been infected may be able to pass her antibodies to her child or baby who breastfeeds.

In a university release, Dr. Roberto Garofalo, a John Sealy Distinguished Chair in Pediatrics at UTMB, said that his study may provide answers by asking pregnant women to provide the researchers with breast milk after giving birth. Garofalo noted that they wanted to investigate how breast milk and COVID-19 interact.

He further explained that the benefits of breastfeeding infants include reducing risk for type 1 diabetes, asthma, gastrointestinal infections, and severe lower respiratory disease.

To test their hypothesis, the researchers will be testing the donated breast milk. The researchers plan to test different types of conditions. They will check if the milk of women who tested positive for COVID-19 contains antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. They will also check if the milk of women who had negative SARS-CoV-2 results would have antiviral factors. They will also check if the breast milk of women who tested positive would indicate the presence of SARS-CoV-2.

Breast milk shows promise in fighting virus. Photo: Pixabay

"Although the study is not aimed to address the outcome of infants based on the COVID-19 status of the mother, it will nonetheless, generate new critical information about the dynamic of mother-infant transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and the role of breast milk can play in immunologic protection," said Garofalo.