Study says that pasteurising breast milk can inactivate covid-19 virus

While the jury is still out on whether covid-19 can be transmitted via breastfeeding, this Canadian study claims that pasteurising breast milk can kills the virus.
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A breast implant surgery may not be the best idea for some women. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Team Health Shots Published: 10 Jul 2020, 19:28 pm IST
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One of the biggest concerns for new mothers during this time of pandemic is whether they can give their babies covid-19 via breast milk. While the WHO still insists there isn’t enough definitive evidence to suggest if covid-19 positive women breastfeeding their infants poses any risks—here is a piece of good news for mothers all over world.

A Canadian study claims that pasteurising breast milk at 62.5 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes inactivates the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes covid-19, making it safe for consumption by babies.

The research, which was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, suggests women with covid-19 to continue to breastfeed their own infants.

“In the event that a woman who is covid-19-positive donates human milk that contains SARS-CoV-2, whether by transmission through the mammary gland or by contamination through respiratory droplets, skin, breast pumps and milk containers, this method of pasteurisation renders milk safe for consumption,” says Sharon Unger, a professor at the University of Toronto in Canada.

Breastfeeding can be the answer for covid-19. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The Holder method, a technique used to pasteurise milk in all Canadian milk banks at 62.5 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes, is effective at neutralising viruses such as HIV, hepatitis and others that are known to be transmitted through human milk, the researchers said.

To test the efficacy of this method against covid-19, the researchers spiked breast milk with SARS-CoV-2. They tested samples that either sat at room temperature for 30 minutes or were warmed to 62.5 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes.

They then measured for active virus, finding that the virus in the pasteurised milk was inactivated after heating.

(With inputs from IANS)

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