Sharon Unger, Neonatologist/ MD, FRCP(C)

University of Toronto

Dr Sharon Unger comes from New Brunswick and went to Dalhousie Medical School. She is a neonatologist at Sinai Health in Toronto and a senior clinician scientist at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute. She is a member of the Departments of Pediatrics and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto and the medical director for the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank. Along with Dr Deborah O'Connor, she is a co-primary investigator for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research funded MaxiMoM: Maximizing Mother's Own Milk research program.

Can CoVID-19 and maternal antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 be transmitted through human milk? Implications for breastfeeding and human milk banking

This presentation will focus on the impact of the current pandemic on human milk banking. At the outset of the pandemic, the focus on milk banking was to ensure an adequate supply of donor milk to meet the ongoing demands of neonatal care units while adapting donor screening to ensure the safety of the donor milk supply. Our initial work at the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank looked at the impact of thermal pasteurization of milk on SARS-CoV-2. Results will also be presented from donor milk analysis for SARS-CoV-2 over the first year of the pandemic. Current recommendations for milk banking/ milk donation will be presented for the donor who experiences COVID-19 or who is vaccinated.