Amid the rapidly evolving global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that has already had profound effects on public health and medical infrastructure globally, many questions remain about its impact on child health. The unique needs of neonates and children, and their role in the spread of the virus (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 [SARS-CoV-2]) should be included in preparedness and response plans. Fetuses and newborn infants may be uniquely vulnerable to the damaging consequences of congenitally- or perinatally-acquired SARS-CoV-2 infection, but data are limited about outcomes of COVID-19 disease during pregnancy. Therefore, information on illnesses associated with other highly pathogenic coronaviruses (i.e., severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome [MERS]), as well as comparisons to common congenital infections, such as cytomegalovirus (CMV), are warranted. Research regarding the potential routes of acquisition of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the prenatal and perinatal setting is of a high public health priority. Vaccines targeting women of reproductive age, and in particular pregnant patients, should be evaluated in clinical trials and should include the endpoints of neonatal infection and disease.
Keywords: COVID-19; Congenital infection; SARS-CoV-2; SARS-CoV-2 vaccines; TORCH infection.
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