Purpose: Reported antibiotic use in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is far higher than the actual rate of reported bacterial co- and superinfection. A better understanding of antibiotic therapy in COVID-19 is necessary. Methods: 6457 SARS-CoV-2-infected cases, documented from March 18, 2020, until February 16, 2021, in the LEOSS cohort were analyzed. As primary endpoint, the correlation between any antibiotic treatment and all-cause mortality/progression to the next more advanced phase of disease was calculated for adult patients in the complicated phase of disease and procalcitonin (PCT) ≤ 0.5 ng/ml. The analysis took the confounders gender, age, and comorbidities into account. Results: Three thousand, six hundred twenty-seven cases matched all inclusion criteria for analyses. For the primary endpoint, antibiotic treatment was not correlated with lower all-cause mortality or progression to the next more advanced (critical) phase (n = 996) (both p > 0.05). For the secondary endpoints, patients in the uncomplicated phase (n = 1195), regardless of PCT level, had no lower all-cause mortality and did not progress less to the next more advanced (complicated) phase when treated with antibiotics (p > 0.05). Patients in the complicated phase with PCT > 0.5 ng/ml and antibiotic treatment (n = 286) had a significantly increased all-cause mortality (p = 0.029) but no significantly different probability of progression to the critical phase (p > 0.05). Conclusion: In this cohort, antibiotics in SARS-CoV-2-infected patients were not associated with positive effects on all-cause mortality or disease progression. Additional studies are needed. Advice of local antibiotic stewardship- (ABS-) teams and local educational campaigns should be sought to improve rational antibiotic use in COVID-19 patients.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)423-436
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 04.2022

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 204-03 Medical Microbiology and Mycology, Hygiene, Molecular Infection Biology
  • 205-31 Clinical Infectiology and Tropical Medicine

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