Researchers from the National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS) obtained funding of $ 100,000 from the university establishment to carry out a research project that would make it possible to see if it is possible to detect potential pathologies in a patient. newborn by analyzing placentas.
The researchers, Cathy Vaillancourt, Laurent Chatel-Chaix, Jean-Charles Grégoire and Nong Zhu, aim to document and better understand the psychosocial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pregnant women, new parents and infants.
By analyzing placentas, they believe that they are able to find clues that identify potential risks of pathologies, from the birth of the child, and be able to intervene in advance and prevent these pathologies as best as possible.
“After birth, we recover the placentas, and we study different aspects of it, including morphology, development and certain genes, including those associated with stress,” says Ms. Vaillancourt, professor at INRS.
She explains that, in the context of the pandemic, several women who are pregnant or who have started pregnancy during this period have been exposed to various stress factors, such as health measures, confinement or, even, the virus.
These stressors can have impacts on the development of the placenta, which can therefore pose risks for the child.
“There are no direct links that are being made yet, but more and more studies show certain types of alterations that are associated with certain problems in children. This is what we want to see, says the professor. The placenta is the mirror of how the pregnancy went. ”
They should be able to share the first results of their work during the current year.
This funding is provided as part of a research support program announced this fall, which aimed to quickly better understand various issues and phenomena related to COVID-19.
Four other projects will also receive funding of $ 100,000, including one that will focus on combination treatments for SARS-CoV-2 and another that will look at the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic on life courses.