Effectiveness of streptococcus pneumoniae urinary antigen testing in decreasing mortality of COVID-19 co-infected patients: A clinical investigation

Antonio Desai, Orazio Giuseppe Santonocito, Giuseppe Caltagirone, Maria Kogan, Federica Ghetti, Ilaria Donadoni, Francesca Porro, Victor Savevski, Dario Poretti, Michele Ciccarelli, Filippo Martinelli Boneschi, Antonio Voza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and objectives: Streptococcus pneumoniae urinary antigen (u-Ag) testing has recently gained attention in the early diagnosis of severe and critical acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2/pneumococcal co-infection. The aim of this study is to assess the effectiveness of Streptococcus pneumoniae u-Ag testing in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients, in order to assess whether pneumococcal co-infection is associated with different mortality rate and hospital stay in these patients. Materials and Methods: Charts, protocols, mortality, and hospitalization data of a consecutive series of COVID-19 patients admitted to a tertiary hospital in northern Italy during COVID-19 outbreak were retrospectively reviewed. All patients underwent Streptococcus pneumoniae u-Ag testing to detect an underlying pneumococcal co-infection. Covid19+/u-Ag+ and Covid19+/u-Ag-patients were compared in terms of overall survival and length of hospital stay using chi-square test and survival analysis. Results: Out of 575 patients with documented pneumonia, 13% screened positive for the u-Ag test. All u-Ag+ patients underwent treatment with Ceftriaxone and Azithromycin or Levofloxacin. Lopinavir/Ritonavir or Darunavir/Cobicistat were added in 44 patients, and hydroxychloroquine and low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) in 47 and 33 patients, respectively. All u-Ag+ patients were hospitalized. Mortality was 15.4% and 25.9% in u-Ag+ and u-Ag-patients, respectively (p = 0.09). Survival analysis showed a better prognosis, albeit not significant, in u-Ag+ patients. Median hospital stay did not differ among groups (10 vs. 9 days, p = 0.71). Conclusions: The routine use of Streptococcus pneumoniae u-Ag testing helped to better target antibiotic therapy with a final trend of reduction in mortality of u-Ag+ COVID-19 patients having a concomitant pneumococcal infection. Randomized trials on larger cohorts are necessary in order to draw definitive conclusion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Antibodies
  • Bacterial infection 2
  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae


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