Introduction Recently, an expert consensus on optimal use of procalcitonin (PCT)-guided antibiotic stewardship was published focusing mainly on Europe and the United States. However, for Asia-Pacific countries, recommendations may need adaptation due to differences in types of infections, available resources and standard of clinical care. Methods Practical experience with PCT-guided antibiotic stewardship was discussed among experts from different countries, reflecting on the applicability of the proposed Berlin consensus algorithms for Asia-Pacific. Using a Delphi process, the group reached consensus on two PCT algorithms for the critically ill and the non-critically ill patient populations. Results The group agreed that the existing evidence for PCT-guided antibiotic stewardship in patients with acute respiratory infections and sepsis is generally valid also for Asia-Pacific countries, in regard to proposed PCT cut-offs, emphasis on diagnosis, prognosis and antibiotic stewardship, overruling criteria and inevitable adaptations to clinical settings. However, the group noted an insufficient database on patients with tropical diseases currently limiting the clinical utility in these patients. Also, due to lower resource availabilities, biomarker levels may be measured less frequently and only when changes in treatment are highly likely. Conclusions Use of PCT to guide antibiotic stewardship in conjunction with continuous education and regular feedback to all stakeholders has high potential to improve the utilization of antibiotic treatment also in Asia-Pacific countries. However, there is need for adaptations of existing algorithms due to differences in types of infections and routine clinical care. Further research is needed to understand the optimal use of PCT in patients with tropical diseases.
Background: India first detected SARS-CoV-2, causal agent of COVID-19 in late January 2020, imported from Wuhan, China. From March 2020 onwards, the importation of cases from countries in the rest of the world followed by seeding of local transmission triggered further outbreaks in India. Methods: We used ARTIC protocol-based tiling amplicon sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 (n=104) from different states of India using a combination of MinION and MinIT sequencing from Oxford Nanopore Technology to understand how introduction and local transmission occurred. Results: The analyses revealed multiple introductions of SARS-CoV-2 genomes, including the A2a cluster from Europe and the USA, A3 cluster from Middle East and A4 cluster (haplotype redefined) from Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia) and Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan). The local transmission and persistence of genomes A4, A2a and A3 was also observed in the studied locations. The most prevalent genomes with patterns of variance (confined in a cluster) remain unclassified, and are here proposed as A4-clade based on its divergence within the A cluster. Conclusions: The viral haplotypes may link their persistence to geo-climatic conditions and host response. Multipronged strategies including molecular surveillance based on real-time viral genomic data is of paramount importance for a timely management of the pandemic.