Antibiotics and improving outcomes for critically ill COVID-19 patients

Posted 14 Jul 2020

Flinders University researchers are exploring precision antibiotic strategies to tackle the two areas of greatest concern in the fight against COVID-19.

By looking at precision antibiotic care tailored to individual patients, Professor Geraint Rogers’ work seeks to address the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) - which is the principal cause of COVID-19 related deaths - and the associated demand for ventilators and intensive care unit (ICU) beds.

“Patients who develop severe respiratory disease following infection require hospitalisation, and ultimately ventilation and intensive care. These patients are at high risk of bacterial respiratory infections and often receive antibiotics,” Professor Rogers explained.

“However, the type of antibiotics, the way they are delivered, and their timing all vary considerably between clinicians and intensive care units, and there is no clear evidence base to guide their use.”

While invasive mechanical ventilation can be a critically important for severely ill COVID-19 patients, it also has substantial risks.

“The longer patients require ventilation, the greater the likelihood of adverse outcomes, including secondary infection and the development of ARDS,” Prof Rogers said.

“In addition, because there is a limited number of ICU beds, the longer any one patient requires ventilation, the less capacity we have to treat others… where this has occurred elsewhere in the world, the consequences have been dire.

“The ultimate aim of our work is to provide a basis for precision antibiotic care, tailored to the clinical needs of individual COVID-19 patients with severe respiratory disease.”

Thanks to your generous support of Flinders Heroes, Professor Rogers is among eight researchers sharing in funding from Flinders Foundation and Flinders University to make new discoveries into COVID-19. Thank you.


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