Correlation between Previous Antibiotic Exposure and COVID-19 Severity: A Population-Based Cohort Study

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  • Carl Llor
  • Dan Ouchi
  • Maria Giner-Soriano
  • Ana García-Sangenís
  • Bjerrum, Lars
  • Rosa Morros

We examined the correlation between previous antibiotic exposure and COVID-19 severity using a population-based observational matched cohort study with patient level data obtained for more than 5.8 million people registered in SIDIAP in Catalonia, Spain. We included all patients newly diagnosed with COVID-19 from March to June 2020 and identified all their antibiotic prescriptions in the previous two years. We used a composite severity endpoint, including pneumonia, hospital admission and death due to COVID-19. We examined the influence of high antibiotic exposure (>4 regimens), exposure to highest priority critically important antimicrobials (HPCIA) and recent exposure. Potential confounders were adjusted by logistic regression. A total of 280,679 patients were diagnosed with COVID-19, 146,656 of whom were exposed to at least one antibiotic course (52.3%) during the preceding two years. A total of 25,222 presented severe COVID-19 infection (9%), and the risk of severity was highest among those exposed to antibiotics (OR 1.12; 95% CI: 1.04-1.21). Among all individuals exposed to antibiotics, high, recent and exposure to HPCIAs were correlated with increased COVID severity (OR 1.19; 95% CI: 1.14-1.26; 1.41; 95% CI: 1.36-1.46; and 1.35; 95% CI: 1.30-1.40, respectively). Our findings confirm a significant correlation between previous antibiotic exposure and increased severity of COVID-19 disease.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2021

ID: 286245504