Support research
on childhood diseases

Perinatal consequences of COVID-19: Impact on the health of mothers and newborns

A research project led by the project co-directors Dr. Arnaud Gagneur and Dr. Isabelle Boucoiran, in collaboration with Dr. Jean-Charles Pasquier and Dr. Fatima Kakkar.

Supported by a team of multidisciplinary research doctors from the four mother-child research centers in Quebec:
- CHU Sherbrooke : A. Gagneur, JC. Pasquier, W. Frazer,
- CHU Sainte-Justine : I. Boucoiran, F. Kakkar, AM Nuyt, S.Girard,
- McGill University Health Centre : M. Beltempo, N.Dayan, R. Brown,
- CHU de Québec – Université Laval: B. Piedboeuf, E. Bujold, S. Demers, G. Boivin, N. Chaillet,
- Montreal University Hospital Center: CE. Jacob,
- Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital: N. Ali, L. Tordjman,
-Jewish General Hospital: H. Abenhaim, J. Bartholomew.

What is the objective of the project?
A significant number of pregnant women will be infected with SARS-CoV-2 (COVID +) in the coming weeks. The scientific data currently available does not make it possible to determine the severity in pregnant women, the existence of vertical transmission and the longer-term consequences of the infection in newborns and children. This data is essential for the coordination and organization of peri- and neonatal care.

It is in this clinical context of glaring need that this project proposes to develop a permanent pan-Quebec research network composed of a multidisciplinary and multicenter research group bringing together the 4 mother-child research centers and two hospitals in Quebec.

The action plan includes the creation of a population database gathering all COVID + pregnant women and the use of the biobank of clinical samples from the Quebec-Health Research Fund (FRQ-S): maternal and neonatal blood, cord blood, urine, vaginal secretion, amniotic fluid, placenta, conception debris, milk, endotracheal / nasogastric suction fluid.

A Quebec biobank that meets the needs
This project proposes to establish a Quebec registry of COVID + pregnant women and to use the biobank of samples set up by the FRQ-S in order to answer the following essential research questions:
- How serious is the infection in pregnant women?
- Is there vertical transmission from mother to child (in-utero and postpartum) or post-natal of this infection in children?
- What are the consequences of this infection on the fate of children?

This research project will be coordinated with the Quebec COVID biobank and the data will be shared with the Canadian Surveillance of COVID-19 in Pregnancy registry. In addition, collaboration will be established with the international COVI-PREG network which already gathers data from more than 40 countries around the world.

What will be the impact of the findings?
The impact of the findings obtained will be major because they will make it possible to adjust the recommendations regarding the monitoring of pregnant women and the method of delivery. This data will also make it possible to determine the policy organization of neonatal care and hospital neonatal services of level II and III in order to ensure optimal safety of newborns. Finally, this will also help determine the optimal procedures for protecting nursing staff at birth and when caring for newborns.

Targeted changes for children's health
This project will determine how to follow the pregnancies of infected women, how to organize the delivery of these women and the reception of the newborn, how to care for newborns and organize neonatal care and also to determine what follow-up will be necessary for these children in the longer term.

Potential Leverage
The establishment of this research structure, of the database coupled with the biobank will subsequently allow us to be able to answer the other subsequent research questions during the course of the pandemic.