April 11, 2018

NIH study will assess biomarker as potential indicator of whether lower respiratory tract infections improve with antibacterial treatment

A new clinical trial sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, aims to determine whether low blood levels of the protein procalcitonin can reliably indicate whether a person’s lower respiratory tract infection will improve with antibiotic treatment.

Lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) can cause a variety of symptoms, including persistent coughing, wheezing, chest pain, fever, and rapid or difficult breathing. Healthcare providers often prescribe a course of antibiotics as standard treatment without knowing for certain whether an infection is bacterial or viral. Taking antibiotics for viral infections is not only ineffective but can also introduce potential side effects and promote antimicrobial resistance.

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