COVID-19, Pregnancy & Cord Blood Banking

From Guest Blogger Karen Madden, Ph.D. – Vice President, Technology & Innovation PerkinElmer

Karen is a scientist, business development professional, mother of two, and is committed to driving innovation, pushing the boundaries of science and translating discoveries from the lab to the real world to improve women’s health.

The current coronavirus pandemic is certainly concerning to everyone, but especially to mothers and expecting mothers. Currently, it’s unknown if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from the COVID-19, but because of changes in a woman’s body during pregnancy, they may be at a higher risk of viral respiratory infections.1 Because the COVID-19 outbreak is so recent there are limited publications available analyzing its impact. However, in a small case study of babies born to mothers who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) none of the infants tested positive and the virus was not detected in any samples of amniotic fluid.2

Amid all the concerning news reports and anxiety arising from COVID-19, there are reasons to remain hopeful. Researchers and companies around the world are racing to better understand COVID-19. Several companies are working to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, and others are working to test and develop therapies to treat the disease or lessen the severity of it.3 PerkinElmer (ViaCord’s parent company) rapidly developed a molecular kit to detect SARS-CoV-2. The U.S. FDA recently provided Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for this test, making it available in the U.S. in addition to over 30 countries worldwide where it’s also approved.4  PerkinElmer is also providing critical technology to extract the RNA from the virus particle, which is an important upfront step in the testing process.5 Additionally, researchers are also evaluating the potential for using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), including umbilical cord-derived MSCs, to treat COVID-19 in clinical trials.6  

The potential silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic is that it has stimulated innovation and collaboration between researchers, medical and scientific corporations in an attempt to better understand the disease, how it’s spread, how to prevent and treat the infection, and ultimately how to prevent future pandemics.7


Banking cord blood does not guarantee that treatment will work, and only a doctor can determine when it can be used. PerkinElmer does not endorse or make recommendations with respect to research, medication, or treatments. All information presented is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.


1. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2020, March).  Novel Coronavirus. Retrieved from

2. Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. (n.d.). Information for HCT/P Establishments Regarding the COVID-19 Outbreak. Retrieved from’sNew2020-02-14&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua

3. Jaimy Lee. (2020, March 24). These 16 companies are working on coronavirus treatments or vaccines — here’s where things stand. Retrieved from

4. PerkinElmer Inc. (2020, March 24). FDA Provides Emergency Use Authorization to PerkinElmer for COVID-19 Testing Retrieved from

5. PerkinElmer Inc. Automated Nucleic Acid Isolation. Retrieved from

6. Umbilical Cord(UC)-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells(MSCs) Treatment for the 2019-novel Coronavirus(nCOV) Pneumonia. (February 2020). Retrieved from

7. Biotech Companies Respond to Coronavirus (COVID-19). (n.d.). Retrieved from Inc. Automated Nucleic Acid Isolation. Retrieved from

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