Background: Critically ill patients with COVID-19 are at an increased risk of developing secondary bacterial infections. These are both difficult to diagnose and are associated with an increased mortality. Metabolomics may aid clinicians in diagnosing secondary bacterial infections in COVID-19 through identification and quantification of disease specific biomarkers, with the aim of identifying underlying causative microorganisms and directing antimicrobial therapy. Methods: This is a multi-centre prospective diagnostic observational study. Patients with COVID-19 will be recruited from critical care units in three Scottish hospitals. Three serial blood samples will be taken from patients, and an additional sample taken if a patient shows clinical or microbiological evidence of secondary infection. Samples will be analysed using LC–MS and subjected to bioinformatic processing and statistical analysis to explore the metabolite changes associated with bacterial infections in COVID-19 patients. Comparisons of the data sets will be made with standard microbiological and biochemical methods of diagnosing infection. Discussion: Metabolomics analyses may provide additional strategies for identifying secondary infections, which might permit faster initiation of specific tailored antimicrobial therapy to critically ill patients with COVID-19.


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McCreath, G., Whitfield, P., Roe, A., Watson, M. & Sim, M. 2021, 'A Metabolomics approach for the diagnosis Of SecondAry InfeCtions in COVID-19 (MOSAIC): a study protocol', BMC Infectious Diseases, 21(1202). http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12879-021-06832-y

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Last updated: 16 June 2022
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