Monitoring of procalcitonin (PCT) has been identified as useful additional tool for risk assessment and detection of secondary infections in the current COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more on interpretation of PCT at the bedside in COVID-19 patients from Prof. Zsolt Molnár (University of Pécs, Hungary and Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poland).

Bacterial co-infections are common among hospitalised COVID-19 patients and PCT levels may provide a way to monitor the rate of co-infection [Image: CDC/Unsplash].

Procalcitonin has long been used as a biomarker for the detection of community-acquired pneumonia and Prof Molnár advocates its use as a biomarker for detecting bacterial infections in COVID-19 patients. High PCT levels are directly correlated to bacterial, as opposed to viral, pneumonia. However,  Prof Molnár is quick to point out that a significant overlap exists between patients with viral pneumonia and those with bacterial pneumonia, even when correcting for heightened PCT levels. He therefore concludes that PCT is best used as a biomarker to indicate the increased possibility of bacterial pneumonia.