You have to be registered and logged in for purchasing articles.


SARS-CoV-2 Infection Increases High Risk Rate of Down Syndrome Screening Test by Reducing Alpha-Fetoprotein by Zhijun Zhang, Xiaoli Wang, Xiaoli Li, Yumei Huang, Guanghui Zhou, Zhengbing Ma, Lan Li, Hua Di, Yang Li, Ruifeng Chen, Qiaoting Xie, Yanchao Mu

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has been a significant global health issue in recent years. Numerous studies indicate that COVID-19 during pregnancy is associated with an increased likelihood of pregnancy complications. Additionally, pregnancy itself is known to elevate the risk of severe SARS-CoV-2 infection. To explore the potential impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection on the probability of Down syndrome in fetuses, we conducted serological testing of Down syndrome markers in pregnant women who had contracted the virus.
Methods: Serological experiments were conducted utilizing a particle chemiluminescence test. The cohort of pregnant women was categorized into three groups: a control group with no infection, a group infected with SARS-CoV-2 Omicron within the first six weeks of gestation, and a group infected beyond the sixth week of gestation.
Results: In the group of individuals infected within 6 gestational weeks, the infection resulted in a decrease in alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels and a higher positive rate of Down syndrome screening tests (p ˂ 0.05). However, in this study, SARS-CoV-2 infection did not lead to an increase in the occurrence of Down syndrome in the fetus. The positive rate of women infected beyond 6 gestational weeks was slightly higher than the non-infected group (6.2% vs. 5.7%), but these differences were not statistically significant (p > 0.05). Within the group infected beyond 6 gestational weeks, there was, compared to the control group, a decrease in free beta human chorionic gonadotropin (β-hCG) levels (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: This study presents a novel investigation into the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection on AFP and β-hCG levels. It has been observed that pregnant women who contract SARS-CoV-2 may exhibit an increased likelihood of positive results in serum tests conducted for Down syndrome screening. However, it is important to note that the occurrence of Down syndrome in the developing fetus does not appear to be elevated. To validate these findings, additional research involving larger and diverse cohorts is necessary.

DOI: 10.7754/Clin.Lab.2023.231020