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With the expanding use of molecular assays, viral pathogens are increasingly recognized among critically ill adult patients with community-acquired severe respiratory illness; studies have detected respiratory viral infections (RVIs) in 17-53% of such patients. In addition, novel pathogens including zoonotic coronaviruses like the agents causing Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019 nCoV) are still being identified. Patients with severe RVIs requiring ICU care present typically with hypoxemic respiratory failure. Oseltamivir is the most widely used neuraminidase inhibitor for treatment of influenza; data suggest that early use is associated with reduced mortality in critically ill patients with influenza. At present, there are no antiviral therapies of proven efficacy for other severe RVIs. Several adjunctive pharmacologic interventions have been studied for their immunomodulatory effects, including macrolides, corticosteroids, cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors, sirolimus, statins, anti-influenza immune plasma, and vitamin C, but none is recommended at present in severe RVIs. Evidence-based supportive care is the mainstay for management of severe respiratory viral infection. Non-invasive ventilation in patients with severe RVI causing acute hypoxemic respiratory failure and pneumonia is associated with a high likelihood of transition to invasive ventilation. Limited existing knowledge highlights the need for data regarding supportive care and adjunctive pharmacologic therapy that is specific for critically ill patients with severe RVI. There is a need for more pragmatic and efficient designs to test different therapeutics both individually and in combination.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Intensive care medicine
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