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Procalcitonin Evaluation of Antibiotic Use in COVID-19 Hospitalised Patients (PEACH): Protocol for a Retrospective Observational Study

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Tom Hellyer, Dr Iain McCullagh



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2022 by the authors.Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a novel virus responsible for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Although COVID-19 is a viral illness, many patients admitted to hospital are prescribed antibiotics, based on concerns that COVID-19 patients may experience secondary bacterial infections, and the assumption that they may respond well to antibiotic therapy. This has led to an increase in antibiotic use for some hospitalised patients at a time when accumulating antibiotic resistance is a major global threat to health. Procalcitonin (PCT) is an inflammatory marker measured in blood samples and widely recommended to help diagnose bacterial infections and guide antibiotic treatment. The PEACH study will compare patient outcomes from English and Welsh hospitals that used PCT testing during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic with those from hospitals not using PCT. It will help to determine whether, and how, PCT testing should be used in the NHS in future waves of COVID-19 to protect patients from antibiotic overuse. PEACH is a retrospective observational cohort study using patient-level clinical data from acute hospital Trusts and Health Boards in England and Wales. The primary objective is to measure the difference in antibiotic use between COVID-19 patients who did or did not have PCT testing at the time of diagnosis. Secondary objectives include measuring differences in length of stay, mortality, intensive care unit admission, and resistant bacterial infections between these groups.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Euden J, Pallmann P, Grozeva D, Albur M, Bond SE, Brookes-Howell L, Dark P, Hellyer T, Hopkins S, Howard P, Llewelyn MJ, Maboshe W, McCullagh IJ, Ogden M, Parsons H, Partridge D, Powell N, Shaw D, Shinkins B, Szakmany T, Todd S, Thomas-Jones E, West RM, Carrol ED, Sandoe JAT

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Methods and Protocols

Year: 2022

Volume: 5

Issue: 6

Print publication date: 01/12/2022

Online publication date: 28/11/2022

Acceptance date: 24/11/2022

Date deposited: 12/01/2023

ISSN (electronic): MDPI AG

Publisher: MDPI


DOI: 10.3390/mps5060095


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Funder referenceFunder name
National Institute of Health Research COVID Learning & Recovery (NIHR L&R)