A newborn baby has tested positive for novel Coronavirus just hours after birth.
The baby was born on Sunday at the Wuhan hospital in Hubei. The mother of the child had already tested positive to novel Coronavirus, sparking concerns the virus may be transmitted in-utero. According to Chinese state media, the newborn weighed 3.25kg at birth (7lbs 2oz) and is now in a stable condition under observation.
China’s Hubei province is the epicentre of the virus, with 549 to 564 confirmed deaths to date. The number of confirmed novel Coronavirus cases currently sits at 24,632 globally.
The baby’s case raised the possibility that Coronavirus could jump from person to person via vertical transmission, or when a person passes a virus to their child in the womb, during childbirth, or via breast milk.
“We should be concerned about the possible new transmission route of the coronavirus,” Zeng Lingkong, Wuhan Hospital’s neonatal departments’ senior physician told the South China Morning Post.
In-utero transmission considered by some as improbable
However, Stephen Morse, an epidemiologist at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, told Business Insider that an in-utero transmission was improbable.
“It’s more likely that the baby contracted the virus from the hospital environment, the same way healthcare workers get infected by the patients they treat,” Morse said. “It’s quite possible that the baby picked it up very conventionally – by inhaling virus droplets that came from the mother coughing.”
On Monday, China’s state-run press agency Xinhua reported that a mother infected with the new coronavirus gave birth to a healthy child who tested negative for the bug.
An infant in #Wuhan has tested positive for the novel #coronavirus just 30 hours after birth, said the city’s children’s hospital, raising concerns that infection could be contracted in the womb pic.twitter.com/j8FIdqKgAS
— People’s Daily, China (@PDChina) February 5, 2020
China’s National Health Commission is also investigating whether novel coronavirus can be passed through the digestive tract infections after traces of the coronavirus were discovered in patients’ faeces.
Experts to meet next week
Hundreds of experts will meet in Geneva next Tuesday and Wednesday to set research and development priorities for coronavirus drugs, diagnostics and vaccines to combat the outbreak, the World Health Organisation confirmed.
“There are no proven effective therapeutics for novel coronavirus,” Dr Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO emergencies program, told reporters.
The organisation’s epidemiologist Dr. Maria van Kerkhove said participants would include experts in clinical investigations and research into an animal source of the virus, which emerged at a market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
Director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said a multinational WHO-led team would go to China very soon to work with Chinese authorities in tackling the outbreak.
The simple precautions to preventing exposure to the virus
With more than 1.3 billion people living in China, it’s still a very small percentage of the population who are infected. The below video shares some really important and practical tips to avoiding catching the virus.
Effective handwashing to remove germs is one of the most efficient ways to avoid transmission of the virus.
Please watch the video below which will share a load of important and practical tips. Hype and panic are the worst things right now, common sense and practical prevention measures are key.