In early December 2019 a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause was identified in Wuhan, a city of 11 million persons in the People’s Republic of China. Further investigation revealed these cases to result from infection with a newly identified coronavirus, initially termed 2019-nCoV and subsequently SARS-CoV-2. The infection moved rapidly through China, spread to Thailand and Japan, extended into adjacent countries through infected persons travelling by air, eventually reaching multiple countries and continents. Similar to such other coronaviruses as those causing the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the new coronavirus was reported to spread via natural aerosols from human-to-human. In the early stages of this epidemic the case fatality rate is estimated to be approximately 2%, with the majority of deaths occurring in special populations. Unfortunately, there is limited experience with coronavirus infections during pregnancy, and it now appears certain that pregnant women have become infected during the present 2019-nCoV epidemic. In order to assess the potential of the Wuhan 2019-nCoV to cause maternal, fetal and neonatal morbidity and other poor obstetrical outcomes, this communication reviews the published data addressing the epidemiological and clinical effects of SARS, MERS, and other coronavirus infections on pregnant women and their infants. Recommendations are also made for the consideration of pregnant women in the design, clinical trials, and implementation of future 2019-nCoV vaccines.
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