Researchers Find That AMR Prevalence was High in COVID-19 Patients

Pneumonia from SARS-CoV-2 is difficult to distinguish from other viral and bacterial etiologies. Broad-spectrum antimicrobials are frequently prescribed to patients hospitalized with COVID-19 which potentially acts as a catalyst for the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Kariyawasam, et al. (2022) conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis during the first 18 months of the pandemic to quantify the prevalence and types of resistant co-infecting organisms in patients with COVID-19 and explore differences across hospital and geographic settings.

The researchers searched MEDLINE, Embase, Web of Science (BioSIS), and Scopus from Nov. 1, 2019 to May 28, 2021 to identify relevant articles pertaining to resistant co-infections in patients with laboratory confirmed SARS-CoV-2. Patient- and study-level analyses were conducted. They calculated pooled prevalence estimates of co-infection with resistant bacterial or fungal organisms using random effects models. Stratified meta-analysis by hospital and geographic setting was also performed to elucidate any differences.

Of 1331 articles identified, 38 met inclusion criteria. A total of 1959 unique isolates were identified with 29% (569) resistant organisms identified. Co-infection with resistant bacterial or fungal organisms ranged from 0.2 to 100% among included studies. Pooled prevalence of co-infection with resistant bacterial and fungal organisms was 24% (95% CI 8–40%; n = 25 studies: I2 = 99%) and 0.3% (95% CI 0.1–0.6%; n = 8 studies: I2 = 78%), respectively. Among multi-drug resistant organisms, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and multi-drug resistant Candida auris were most commonly reported. Stratified analyses found higher proportions of AMR outside of Europe and in ICU settings, though these results were not statistically significant. Patient-level analysis demonstrated > 50% (n = 58) mortality, whereby all but 6 patients were infected with a resistant organism.

During the first 18 months of the pandemic, AMR prevalence was high in COVID-19 patients and varied by hospital and geography although there was substantial heterogeneity. Given the variation in patient populations within these studies, clinical settings, practice patterns, and definitions of AMR, further research is warranted to quantify AMR in COVID-19 patients to improve surveillance programs, infection prevention and control practices and antimicrobial stewardship programs globally.

Reference: Kariyawasam RM, et al. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in COVID-19 patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis (November 2019–June 2021). Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control. Vol. 11, article number 45 (2022).