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periCOVID Africa

Understanding COVID-19 infections in pregnant women and their babies in Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, the Gambia and Mozambique


EDCTP2 programme supported by the European Union

Type of Study

Observational cohort


St George’s, University of London


Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda, & The Gambia

Chief Investigator

Professor Kirsty Le Doare


Pregnant women


As of April 2020 there were approximately 20,000 cases of a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19) in 46 African countries, with 500 deaths, yet this is likely to be a severe underestimate due to facilities for testing and reporting cases.

There are a number of uncertainties about COVID-19, including the impact of COVID-19 on pregnancy outcomes, vertical transmission of the virus and potential for protective immunity via placental antibody transfer. These uncertainties are especially pertinent in sub-Saharan Africa, where co-infection with HIV, TB, syphilis and malaria are extremely common, revealing a doubly vulnerable population, where, if vertical transmission is proven, there is potential for severe long term consequences of COVID-19 infection on the health course of women and their infants. periCOVID Africa will build on existing pregnancy and neonatal cohorts in five African countries to:

  • Develop COVID-19 surveillance in pregnancy in The Gambia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Uganda
  • Estimate the seroepidemiology of COVID-19 infection among pregnant women.
  • Determine the clinical course and pregnancy outcomes in pregnant women infected with COVID-19
  • Define the immune response to COVID-19 in pregnant women and their babies and determine the presence of antibodies in cord blood
  • Work with communities to develop understanding of infection prevention and control techniques to reduce the spread of COVID-19 amongst the pregnant population

For more details, please visit


November 2020 – December 2022