Cell Rep Med. 2021 Mar 14:100229. doi: 10.1016/j.xcrm.2021.100229. Online ahead of print.
The impact of secondary bacterial infections (superinfections) in COVID-19 is not well understood. In this prospective, monocentric cohort study we aim to investigate the impact of superinfections in COVID-19 patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome. Patients are assessed for concomitant microbial infections by longitudinal analysis of tracheobronchial secretions, bronchoalveolar lavages and blood cultures. In 45 critically ill patients, we identify 19 patients with superinfections (42.2%). Superinfections are detected on day 10 after intensive care admission. The proportion of participants alive and off invasive mechanical ventilation at study day 28 (ventilator-free days (VFDs) at 28 days) is substantially lower in patients with superinfection (subhazard ratio 0.37, 95%-CI 0.15-0.90, p=0.028). Patients with pulmonary superinfections have a higher incidence of bacteraemia, virus reactivations, yeast colonization, and required intensive care treatment for a longer time. Superinfections are frequent and associated with reduced VFDs at 28 days despite a high rate of empirical antibiotic therapy.