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2.
JAC-antimicrobial resistance ; 4(Suppl 1), 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1823913

ABSTRACT

Background A minority of patients presenting to hospital with COVID-19 have bacterial coinfection. Procalcitonin testing may help identify patients for whom antibiotics should be prescribed or withheld. The PEACH study describes the use of procalcitonin in English and Welsh hospitals during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic to help diagnose bacterial infections and guide antibiotic treatment. There is a lack of clear evidence to support its use in lung infections, which means in some hospitals, clinicians have used the procalcitonin test to guide antibiotic decisions in COVID-19, whilst in other hospitals, they have not. Our study is analysing data from hospitals that did and did not use procalcitonin testing during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will determine whether and how procalcitonin testing should be used in the NHS in future waves of COVID-19 to protect patients from antibiotic overuse. Methods To assess whether the use of PCT testing, to guide antibiotic prescribing, safely reduced antibiotic use among patients who were hospitalized with COVID-19 during the first wave of the pandemic, we are answering this question through three different, and complimentary, work streams (WS), each with discrete work packages (WP): (i) Work Stream 1: utilization of PCT testing to guide antibiotic prescribing during the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic;(ii) Work Stream 2: patient-level impact of PCT testing on antibiotic exposure and clinical outcome (main work stream currently in analysis);and (iii) Work Stream 3: health economics analysis of PCT testing to guide antibiotics in COVID-19. Results Our first publication from Work Stream 1 (Antibiotics 2021, 10: 516) used a web-based survey to gather data from antimicrobial leads about the use of procalcitonin testing. Responses were received from 148/151 (98%) eligible hospitals. During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was widespread introduction and expansion of PCT use in NHS hospitals. The number of hospitals using PCT in emergency/acute admissions rose from 17 (11%) to 74/146 (50.7%) and use in ICU increased from 70 (47.6%) to 124/147 (84.4%). This increase happened predominantly in March and April 2020, preceding NICE guidance. Approximately half of hospitals used PCT as a single test to guide decisions to discontinue antibiotics and half used repeated measurements. There was marked variation in the thresholds used for empirical antibiotic cessation and guidance about interpretation of values. Conclusions Procalcitonin testing has been widely adopted in the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic in an unevidenced, heterogeneous way and in conflict with relevant NICE guidance. Further research is needed urgently that assesses the impact of this change on antibiotic prescribing and patient safety. Work Stream 2 is ongoing, and results will be published once available.

3.
J Antimicrob Chemother ; 77(4): 1189-1196, 2022 03 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1684714

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Blood biomarkers have the potential to help identify COVID-19 patients with bacterial coinfection in whom antibiotics are indicated. During the COVID-19 pandemic, procalcitonin testing was widely introduced at hospitals in the UK to guide antibiotic prescribing. We have determined the impact of this on hospital-level antibiotic consumption. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective, controlled interrupted time series analysis of organization-level data describing antibiotic dispensing, hospital activity and procalcitonin testing for acute hospitals/hospital trusts in England and Wales during the first wave of COVID-19 (24 February to 5 July 2020). RESULTS: In the main analysis of 105 hospitals in England, introduction of procalcitonin testing in emergency departments/acute medical admission units was associated with a statistically significant decrease in total antibiotic use of -1.08 (95% CI: -1.81 to -0.36) DDDs of antibiotic per admission per week per trust. This effect was then lost at a rate of 0.05 (95% CI: 0.02-0.08) DDDs per admission per week. Similar results were found specifically for first-line antibiotics for community-acquired pneumonia and for COVID-19 admissions rather than all admissions. Introduction of procalcitonin in the ICU setting was not associated with any significant change in antibiotic use. CONCLUSIONS: At hospitals where procalcitonin testing was introduced in emergency departments/acute medical units this was associated with an initial, but unsustained, reduction in antibiotic use. Further research should establish the patient-level impact of procalcitonin testing in this population and understand its potential for clinical effectiveness.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Procalcitonin , Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/drug therapy , Hospitals , Humans , Interrupted Time Series Analysis , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies , State Medicine , United Kingdom
4.
Antibiotics (Basel) ; 10(5)2021 May 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1223911

ABSTRACT

A minority of patients presenting to hospital with COVID-19 have bacterial co-infection. Procalcitonin testing may help identify patients for whom antibiotics should be prescribed or withheld. This study describes the use of procalcitonin in English and Welsh hospitals during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. A web-based survey of antimicrobial leads gathered data about the use of procalcitonin testing. Responses were received from 148/151 (98%) eligible hospitals. During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was widespread introduction and expansion of PCT use in NHS hospitals. The number of hospitals using PCT in emergency/acute admissions rose from 17 (11%) to 74/146 (50.7%) and use in Intensive Care Units (ICU) increased from 70 (47.6%) to 124/147 (84.4%). This increase happened predominantly in March and April 2020, preceding NICE guidance. Approximately half of hospitals used PCT as a single test to guide decisions to discontinue antibiotics and half used repeated measurements. There was marked variation in the thresholds used for empiric antibiotic cessation and guidance about interpretation of values. Procalcitonin testing has been widely adopted in the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic in an unevidenced, heterogeneous way and in conflict with relevant NICE guidance. Further research is needed urgently that assesses the impact of this change on antibiotic prescribing and patient safety.

5.
J Epidemiol Community Health ; 75(10): 970-974, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1197275

ABSTRACT

Minority ethnic groups have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the exact reasons for this remain unclear, they are likely due to a complex interplay of factors rather than a single cause. Reducing these inequalities requires a greater understanding of the causes. Research to date, however, has been hampered by a lack of theoretical understanding of the meaning of 'ethnicity' (or race) and the potential pathways leading to inequalities. In particular, quantitative analyses have often adjusted away the pathways through which inequalities actually arise (ie, mediators for the effect of interest), leading to the effects of social processes, and particularly structural racism, becoming hidden. In this paper, we describe a framework for understanding the pathways that have generated ethnic (and racial) inequalities in COVID-19. We suggest that differences in health outcomes due to the pandemic could arise through six pathways: (1) differential exposure to the virus; (2) differential vulnerability to infection/disease; (3) differential health consequences of the disease; (4) differential social consequences of the disease; (5) differential effectiveness of pandemic control measures and (6) differential adverse consequences of control measures. Current research provides only a partial understanding of some of these pathways. Future research and action will require a clearer understanding of the multiple dimensions of ethnicity and an appreciation of the complex interplay of social and biological pathways through which ethnic inequalities arise. Our framework highlights the gaps in the current evidence and pathways that need further investigation in research that aims to address these inequalities.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Health Status Disparities , Minority Groups , Pandemics , COVID-19/ethnology , Humans , Minority Groups/statistics & numerical data
6.
BMJ Open ; 11(3): e048317, 2021 03 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1140339

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The emergence and rapid spread of COVID-19 have caused widespread and catastrophic public health and economic impact, requiring governments to restrict societal activity to reduce the spread of the disease. The role of household transmission in the population spread of SARS-CoV-2, and of host immunity in limiting transmission, is poorly understood. This paper describes a protocol for a prospective observational study of a cohort of households in Liverpool City Region, UK, which addresses the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 between household members and how immunological response to the infection changes over time. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Households in the Liverpool City Region, in which members have not previously tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 with a nucleic acid amplification test, are followed up for an initial period of 12 weeks. Participants are asked to provide weekly self-throat and nasal swabs and record their activity and presence of symptoms. Incidence of infection and household secondary attack rates of COVID-19 are measured. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 will be investigated against a range of demographic and behavioural variables. Blood and faecal samples are collected at several time points to evaluate immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection and prevalence and risk factors for faecal shedding of SARS-CoV-2, respectively. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The study has received approval from the National Health Service Research Ethics Committee; REC Reference: 20/HRA/2297, IRAS Number: 283 464. Results will be disseminated through scientific conferences and peer-reviewed open access publications. A report of the findings will also be shared with participants. The study will quantify the scale and determinants of household transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, immunological responses before and during the different stages of infection will be analysed, adding to the understanding of the range of immunological response by infection severity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/transmission , Humans , Observational Studies as Topic , Prospective Studies , Research Design , State Medicine , United Kingdom/epidemiology
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