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

on behalf of the PEACH Study Group

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2 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number95
JournalMethods and Protocols
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

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© 2022 by the authors.


  • COVID-19
  • antibiotics
  • antimicrobial stewardship
  • procalcitonin


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