Giving Compass' Take:

• Research reveals that Black and Hispanic pregnant women in Philadelphia are more likely to have been exposed to COVID-19 compared to white and Asian women. 

• How can this research inform health donors about where to direct charitable dollars? How are you supporting the most vulnerable during this crisis? 

• Understand more about the risks for pregnant women amid coronavirus. 

“Pregnant women are fairly representative of community exposure, and these data provide more evidence, on top of what we already know with COVID-19, that health and socio-economic equity are inextricably linked,” says study co-leader Scott Hensley, associate professor of microbiology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

“Hopefully, this will help lead to policies that address these inequities.”

The research team measured levels of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies to estimate rates of exposure to the novel coronavirus in pregnant women cared for at two Philadelphia hospitals. They found that, overall, 6.2% of these women possessed antibodies to the virus, but with significant variation across racial and ethnic groups—9.7% in Black women, 10.4% in Hispanic/Latina women, 2.0% in White/Non-Hispanic women, and 0.9% in Asian women.

Researchers say these data can inform clinical practice and care for pregnant women during the coronavirus pandemic, and be used to better understand the prevalence of the virus in the community, and how socio-economic factors and inequities may affect its spread.

“Identifying the disparity in virus exposure will ideally help lead to the discovery of what is causing these differences, including factors rooted in systemic racism, and inform public health measures aimed at preventing further infections,” says study co-leader Karen Marie Puopolo, associate professor of pediatrics and neonatologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The study appears in Science Immunology.

Read the full article about pregnant women's exposure to COVID-19 by Melissa Moody at Futurity.