VERDI’s Maternal-Infant Working Group: Prioritising pregnant women and their babies in COVID-19 research

June 15, 2023

Did you know that within VERDI there are 4 Working Groups? These groups help our VERDI partners actively exchange ideas, designs, methods and results, while also identifying gaps and collaborative opportunities.


Today, we are happy to present you the VERDI Maternal-Infant Working Group. This Working Group aims to understand how different SARS-CoV-2 variants and vaccination against COVID-19 during pregnancy influences multiple health outcomes in both mother and infant. The Maternal-Infant Working Group is also assessing how to maximise available linked pregnancy/infant data across countries in Europe and worldwide.


This Working Group is led by Claire Thorne, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the UCL Institute of Child Health, London (UK), and Angela Lupattelli, researcher at the Department of Pharmacy, University of Oslo (Norway). Let’s hear their insights on the working group’s activities!


Why is it important to have a Maternal-Infant Working Group within VERDI?

Pregnant women and their infants are often underprioritised in clinical vaccine research, despite being vulnerable populations, as well as in other clinical research, for example on new therapeutics.

The Maternal-Infant Working Group has crucial role in VERDI as it generates the necessary knowledge about possible risks of SARS-CoV-2 variant infection in pregnant women and their children, as well as of vaccination against COVID-19.

The Working Group capitalises on data from large-scale pregnancy-child cohorts, and this supports our preparedness for future possible pandemics.


What contribution does the Maternal-Infant Woking Group bring to the VERDI project overall?

As the VERDI project as a whole focusses on children and pregnancy, the Maternal-Infant Working Group has quite a cross-cutting role, with links across the Clinical and Vaccine Working Groups in particular.

Teams across VERDI are working on a number of important questions relating to maternal and infant health, including whether vaccination reduces the risk of adverse outcomes in pregnant women who acquire variants of concern and their infants, whether there are any safety concerns around the use of vaccines in pregnancy and the longer-term outcomes of children born to mothers who had a SARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnancy.


What is the added value of collaborating with institutions and cohorts within the VERDI Consortium?

Research collaborations are essential to address the numerous questions that have arisen in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and to our global preparedness for emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases in the future.

In VERDI, we benefit from a global consortium of partners who bring multidisciplinary “know-how” alongside valuable population-based, longitudinal data on maternal and child health outcomes in the context of different SARS-CoV-2 variants. Our collaborative research benefits from sharing approaches as well as findings, from different countries and settings.

The consortium also provides a network of scientists and clinicians with shared interests and goals with respect to improving maternal and child health.