June 23 (Reuters) - The U.S. National Institutes of Health
(NIH) said on Wednesday it had begun a study to evaluate the
immune responses generated by COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant or
Pregnant women are at higher risk of complications including
premature birth, high blood pressure with organ failure risk,
need for intensive care and possible death, according to the
A research study conducted in February in Israel showed that
antibodies were detected in all 20 women administered with both
the doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
during their third trimester of pregnancy and also in their
Pfizer and BioNTech in February started a separate trial,
with 4,000 international volunteers, evaluating safety and
effectiveness of their COVID-19 vaccine in healthy pregnant
The NIH study, MOMI-VAX, will measure the development and
durability of antibodies against the coronavirus in women
vaccinated during pregnancy or the first two postpartum months.
The researchers will assess vaccine safety and also evaluate
whether vaccinated pregnant women pass along protection to their
babies via the placenta or breast milk.
Many pregnant women in the United States have already
received the COVID-19 vaccine available under emergency use
"The results of this study will fill gaps in our knowledge
and help inform policy recommendations and personal
decision-making on COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy,"
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director
(NIAID) Dr Anthony Fauci said. NIAID is financing the study.
The trial will enroll up to 750 pregnant and 250 postpartum
women within two months of delivery, who have already received
or will receive a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration (FDA).
The FDA has authorized vaccines from Moderna,
Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson for emergency use.
(Reporting by Dania Nadeem in Bengaluru)