Burden of Community-Acquired Pneumonia and Unmet Clinical Needs

João Ferreira-Coimbra, Cristina Sarda, Jordi Rello

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is the leading cause of death among infectious diseases and an important health problem, having considerable implications for healthcare systems worldwide. Despite important advances in prevention through vaccines, new rapid diagnostic tests and antibiotics, CAP management still has significant drawbacks. Mortality remains very high in severely ill patients presenting with respiratory failure or shock but is also high in the elderly. Even after a CAP episode, higher risk of death remains during a long period, a risk mainly driven by inflammation and patient-related co-morbidities. CAP microbiology has been altered by new molecular diagnostic tests that have turned viruses into the most identified pathogens, notwithstanding uncertainties about the specific role of each virus in CAP pathogenesis. Pneumococcal vaccines also impacted CAP etiology and thus had changed Streptococcus pneumoniae circulating serotypes. Pathogens from specific regions should also be kept in mind when treating CAP. New antibiotics for CAP treatment were not tested in severely ill patients and focused on multidrug-resistant pathogens that are unrelated to CAP, limiting their general use and indications for intensive care unit (ICU) patients. Similarly, CAP management could be personalized through the use of adjunctive therapies that showed outcome improvements in particular patient groups. Although pneumococcal vaccination was only convincingly shown to reduce invasive pneumococcal disease, with a less significant effect in pneumococcal CAP, it remains the best therapeutic intervention to prevent bacterial CAP. Further research in CAP is needed to reduce its population impact and improve individual outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAdvances in Therapy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • CAP
  • Community-acquired pneumonia
  • Epidemiology
  • Infectious disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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