Introduction: Despite improvements in medical science and public health, mortality of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) has barely changed throughout the last 15 years. The current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has once again highlighted the central importance of acute respiratory infections to human health. The “network of excellence on Community Acquired Pneumonia” (CAPNETZ) hosts the most comprehensive CAP database worldwide including more than 12,000 patients. CAPNETZ connects physicians, microbiologists, virologists, epidemiologists, and computer scientists throughout Europe. Our aim was to summarize the current situation in CAP research and identify the most pressing unmet needs in CAP research.
Methods: To identify areas of future CAP research, CAPNETZ followed a multiple-step procedure. First, research members of CAPNETZ were individually asked to identify unmet needs. Second, the top 100 experts in the field of CAP research were asked for their insights about the unmet needs in CAP (Delphi approach). Third, internal and external experts discussed unmet needs in CAP at a scientific retreat.
Results: Eleven topics for future CAP research were identified: detection of causative pathogens, next generation sequencing for antimicrobial treatment guidance, imaging diagnostics, biomarkers, risk stratification, antiviral and antibiotic treatment, adjunctive therapy, vaccines and prevention, systemic and local immune response, comorbidities, and long-term cardio-vascular complications.
Conclusion: Pneumonia is a complex disease where the interplay between pathogens, immune system and comorbidities not only impose an immediate risk of mortality but also affect the patients’ risk of developing comorbidities as well as mortality for up to a decade after pneumonia has resolved. Our review of unmet needs in CAP research has shown that there are still major shortcomings in our knowledge of CAP.
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Pletz, M., Jensen, A., Bahrs, C., Davenport, C., Rupp, J., Witzenrath, M., Barten-Neiner, G., Kolditz, M., Dettmer, S., Chalmers, J., Stolz, D., Suttorp, N., Aliberti, S., Kuebler, W. & Rohde, G. 2022, 'Unmet needs in pneumonia research: a comprehensive approach by the CAPNETZ study group', Respiratory Research, 23(1), article no: 239. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12931-022-02117-3