Breast Milk - a Source of SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Abstract and objectives:

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, many put their hopes in the rapid development of effective immunisations. For now, patient isolation, physical distancing and good hygiene are the sole measures for prevention. Processed breast milk with antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 may serve as additional protection.This presentation will discuss the research recently published.

A variety of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 is present in breast milk from mothers who have recovered from COVID-19, with no such antibodies present in breast milk obtained from the controls. Breast milk of mothers who were previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 contains significant amounts of IgA against SARS-CoV-2 and these antibodies are present in breast milk even 3 months following the onset of clinical symptoms.


These antibodies are capable of neutralising a clinical isolate of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro. Although after pasteurisation of the milk anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were detected with two methods of pasteurisation, the virus-neutralising capacity of those antibodies was only retained with the High Pressure Pasteurisation (HPP) approach, and not with Holder Pasteurisation (HoP). The reduction in overall IgA concentration was greater in HoP than HPP milk, with High pressure pasteurisation hardly affecting antibody levels and efficacy.


Learning objectives:

  • Human milk contains antibodies against various pathogens, resulting in a lower incidence of infectious diseases in breastfed infants when compared to formula fed infants
  • Antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 are present in human milk obtained from mothers who recovered from COVID 19
  • Antibodies are present even 3 months following the onset of clinical symptoms



Prof. Dr. J. (Hans) B. van Goudoever, MD, PhD

Hans van Goudoever is professor of paediatrics at the University of Amsterdam and the Free University. He performed research for his PhD on Nitrogen metabolism in preterm infants. In subsequent years, he worked in the lab of the late Peter Reeds, Clinical Nutrition Research Center, Texas Children’s, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA, as a post doc. Intestinal amino acid metabolism in a piglet model revealed novel insights in nutritional management of preterm infants. Returning to Rotterdam in 2000, he was trained as neonatologist and became professor and chair of neonatology in 2004.

In 2010, he moved to Amsterdam to take the chair of the two paediatric departments in the capital, and merged those into one Emma Children’s Hospital. He served in many international councils, including European Society Pediatric Research, International Pediatric Research Foundation, European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology & Nutrition and was chair of the Committee of Nutrition. He was appointed by his royal majesty as member of the national Health Council in 2014. He founded the Dutch National Donor Milk Bank in 2011 and serves as the director. Hans van Goudoever published approximately 350 peer reviewed articles, predominantly on neonatal nutrition and metabolism.


Event Details


  • 8 October 2020


  • 1 hour


  • 07:00 - 08:00, PDT, San Francisco
  • 09:00 - 10:00, CT, Chicago IL
  • 10:00 - 11:00, EDT, New York
  • 15:00 - 16:00, BST, London
  • 16:00 - 17:00, CEST, Berlin
  • 17:00 - 18:00, MSK, Moscow
  • 18:00 - 19:00, GST, Dubai
  • 19:30 - 20:30, IST, Mumbai

This webinar is fee of charge