Less than a year after three papers reporting the main results of the INTERCOVID Study were published in leading medical journals, the University of Oxford is this week launching the second round of the largest global study comparing Covid-19 in pregnancy with pregnant women without the infection. The updated aims of this large multinational effort are to: 1) Evaluate the effect of the new variants of the virus on pregnant women and newborns and 2) Quantify the effect of vaccination on the complications described during pregnancy and the neonatal period.
Despite the growing body of evidence regarding the dangers of Covid-19 during pregnancy – higher risk of maternal death, preeclampsia/eclampsia, severe infections, intensive care unit admissions, preterm births, and severe neonatal complications - and the efficacy and safety of Covid-19 vaccines during pregnancy, countries have been recording alarmingly low rates of vaccination amongst this high-risk group. Little is known, however, about the impact during pregnancy of new variants of the virus, such as Omicron. The researchers aim to fill that gap as quickly as possible because without large-scale, peer-reviewed research, the impact should not be underestimated.