Pasteurising breast milk may inactivate novel coronavirus: Study

By: |
Updated: Jul 10, 2020 3:37 PM

In Canada, it is standard care to provide pasteurised breast milk to very-low-birth-weight babies in hospital until their own mother's milk supply is adequate, the researchers said.

Pasteurising breast milk, novel coronavirus, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 virus, COVID-19-positive, human milk, breast pumps, latest news on coronavirus outbreakAccording to the research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, current advice for women with COVID-19 is to continue to breastfeed their own infants.(Representational image: Reuters)

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, a study claims. According to the research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, current advice for women with COVID-19 is to continue to breastfeed their own infants.

In Canada, it is standard care to provide pasteurised breast milk to very-low-birth-weight babies in hospital until their own mother’s milk supply is adequate, the researchers said.

“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,” said Sharon Unger, a professor at the University of Toronto in Canada.

Also read| Check Coronavirus latest updates here:

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.

In the latest study, the researchers spiked human breast milk with a viral load of SARS-CoV-2 and 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.
More than 650 human breast milk banks around the world use the Holder method to ensure a safe supply of milk for vulnerable infants, the researchers said.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.

Next Stories
1Worldwide virus cases top 20 million, doubling in six weeks
2Tamil Nadu asks Centre to fund 50% of PCR test cost
3Bihar reports highest single-day spike of 4,071 COVID-19 cases; 15 more fatalities push death toll to 465