Clinical characteristics of confirmed COVID-19 in newborns: a systematic review

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2020 Nov 19;1-12. doi: 10.1080/14767058.2020.1849124. Online ahead of print.


Objective: Aim of this systematic review is to investigate the available evidence describing neonatal outcomes in newborns who have SARS-CoV-2 infection in order to guide prevention of COVID-19 in newborns.

Methods: This is the study protocol for a systematic review. MEDLINE, Web of Science, PubMed, Science Direct, CINAHL, Scopus, Cochrane, TUBİTAK databases, and key words of "Newborn" (neonatal OR clinical characteristics newborn OR infants less than 1 month OR infants less than 28 weeks OR Neonate) AND "clinical presentation" (epidemiology OR symptoms OR clinical course OR features) AND "COVID-19" (Coronavirus OR COVID-19 OR Sars-Cov2 OR coronavirus disease 2019 OR Novel Coronavirus OR 2019-nCoV) were searched for this systematic review. Randomized controlled trial, cross-sectional, case-control, and case reports, case reports examining neonatal outcomes in newborns who have SARS-CoV-2 infection were included. Studies were selected according to criteria around the population, intervention, comparator, outcome(s) of interest, and study design (PICOS framework). All citations and full-text articles were searched by independent five authors. The population that newborns with COVID-19 that confirmed within 28 d of birth are included. The interventions included in COVID-19 infection diagnosed via reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) or serological. The primary outcomes were Neonatal clinical outcomes. The methodological quality of the studies was appraised using appropriate tools. Strength of the body of evidence was assessed according to the quality assessment tool for quantitative studies (QATQS).

Results: The electronic search identified 1051 records that were examined, after evaluating 35 of them were included in the study. Seven studies were research articles and twenty-eight were case reports. Methodological quality was medium. Most of the clinical characteristics of newborns were respiratory difficulty and secondly fever. Some newborns gastrointestinal (GIS) symptoms in the form of diarrhea and feeding intolerance and abdominal distension were present in 50%. The fatality case did not exist in any newborn due to COVID-19. Death occurred in one case due to prematurity.

Conclusions: The most common symptoms in patients with COVID-19 infection in the neonatal period are respiratory tract symptoms and fever. It has been observed that the COVID-19 infection detected in the neonatal period is not fatal. However, data including more cases are needed.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; clinical characteristics of newborns; confirmed COVID-19 infected neonate; newborn outcome.