SARS-CoV-2 infection of the placenta

Hillary Hosier, Shelli F. Farhadian, Raffaella A. Morotti, Uma Deshmukh, Alice Lu-Culligan, Katherine H. Campbell, Yuki Yasumoto, Chantal B.F. Vogels, Arnau Casanovas-Massana, Pavithra Vijayakumar, Bertie Geng, Camila D. Odio, John Fournier, Anderson F. Brito, Joseph R. Fauver, Feimei Liu, Tara Alpert, Reshef Tal, Klara Szigeti-Buck, Sudhir PerincheriChristopher Larsen, Aileen M. Gariepy, Gabriela Aguilar, Kristen L. Fardelmann, Malini Harigopal, Hugh S. Taylor, Christian M. Pettker, Anne L. Wyllie, Charles Dela Cruz, Aaron M. Ring, Nathan D. Grubaugh, Albert I. Ko, Tamas L. Horvath, Akiko Iwasaki, Uma M. Reddy, Heather S. Lipkind

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

329 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. The effects of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in pregnancy remain relatively unknown. We present a case of second trimester pregnancy with symptomatic COVID-19 complicated by severe preeclampsia and placental abruption. METHODS. We analyzed the placenta for the presence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) through molecular and immunohistochemical assays and by and electron microscopy and measured the maternal antibody response in the blood to this infection. RESULTS. SARS-CoV-2 localized predominantly to syncytiotrophoblast cells at the materno-fetal interface of the placenta. Histological examination of the placenta revealed a dense macrophage infiltrate, but no evidence for the vasculopathy typically associated with preeclampsia. CONCLUSION. This case demonstrates SARS-CoV-2 invasion of the placenta, highlighting the potential for severe morbidity among pregnant women with COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4947-4953
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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