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COVID trials have excluded pregnant women - study

Thursday December 17th 2020

Most COVID-19 trials have avoided including pregnant women, according to a new analysis.

As many as 75% of trials have stated they do not include pregnant women, according to a report in The Lancet Global Health.

The researchers, from the World Health Organisation in Switzerland, say that this is a mistake – as pregnant women are as vulnerable to the virus as others.

Researcher Dr Caron Kim said: "Pregnant women are among the least likely to have robust, timely evidence to inform decisions around their care.

"Categorising women as members of a vulnerable group on the basis of pregnancy status alone, rather than as individuals who are pregnant at the time of the trial, limits their individual choice, and access to potentially life-saving treatment."

Fellow researcher Dr Loulou Kobeissi said: "The systematic exclusion of pregnant women cannot be justified on the basis of safety as many of the medications being evaluated are either not harmful in pregnancy, or their risks are minimal. We are concerned that the resulting evidence gaps and delays will limit our understanding of the effects of treatment, dosing, and side effects in this important population, which can be vastly different from other groups due to the physiological changes that come with pregnancy."

A second report, published by The Lancet Infectious Diseases, seeks to establish the extent of viral infection in Iran, which has reported 1.3 million cases in a population of 84 million - and 52,000 deaths.

Based on seroprevalence analysis of antibodies, the researchers, backed by the Iranian government, suggest that at least 17% of the population have suffered from the virus.

Lancet Global Health 16 December 2020

[abstract]

Lancet Infectious Diseases 16 December 2020

[abstract]

Tags: Childbirth and Pregnancy | Flu & Viruses | Pharmaceuticals | Women's Health & Gynaecology | World Health

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