Cleveland Clinic Researchers Receive $2.5M Grant to Evaluate Ways to Reduce Use of Broad-Spectrum Antibiotics in Adults with Community-Acquired Pneumonia

Trial aims to improve antimicrobial prescribing and initiate targeted therapy

Media Contact

Cleveland Clinic News Service 216.444.0141

Cleveland Clinic has received a $2.5 million grant from the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to conduct a multicenter clinical trial to evaluate ways to reduce the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics in adult patients with community-acquired pneumonia.

The five-year grant, led by Michael Rothberg, M.D., vice chair of Cleveland Clinic Community Care, and Abhishek Deshpande, M.D., Ph.D., a staff physician in the Center for Value-Based Care Research, will be the largest randomized trial to determine the impact of rapid diagnostic testing on antibiotic use in adult patients with community-acquired pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection of one or both lungs that can cause mild to severe illness. Community-acquired pneumonia is the most common type of pneumonia.  

“Community-acquired pneumonia is a leading cause of hospitalizations and inpatient morbidity and mortality in the United States,” said Dr. Rothberg. “However, determining the type of pathogen that caused the infection can be challenging, leading to the prolonged use of powerful antibiotics. Most patients do not need these drugs, which can have serious side effects and promote future antibiotic resistance.”

Pneumonia is categorized based on where an infection was acquired and the type of germ that caused the infection. It is most commonly caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi. Treatment for pneumonia should be determined by the cause: antibiotics for bacterial pneumonia, antiviral drugs for influenza and COVID-19, and antifungal medication for fungi. Because most patients are not tested for the cause, they are usually treated with antibiotics, often for long periods of time.  

This trial will test two approaches to limiting the use of antibiotics in hospitalized patients: routine use of rapid diagnostic testing at the time of hospital admission, and pharmacist-led de-escalation which involves stopping or changing the antibiotics to target a specific bacteria after 48 hours for clinically stable patients who test negative for bacterial pneumonia.

Knowing what type of pathogen is causing a patient’s pneumonia could allow physicians to begin with more targeted therapy, avoiding unnecessary antibiotics. Just as important, understanding when patients do not have a resistant bacteria could allow for them to receive standard antibiotic therapy for most of their hospital stay, avoiding complications that come with stronger antibiotics.

“Our overall goal is to improve antimicrobial prescribing for patients with community-acquired pneumonia,” said Dr. Deshpande. “Specifically, knowledge gained from this trial will allow physicians to limit the use of broad-spectrum antimicrobials and initiate targeted therapy.”

Approximately 1 million adults in the United States are hospitalized each year for pneumonia and 50,000 of those die from the disease. Receiving all recommended vaccinations is the best way to prevent pneumonia. Additionally, practicing proper hand hygiene, avoiding smoking, and maintaining a healthy immune system can help protect against infection.     

About Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 72,500 employees worldwide are more than 5,050 salaried physicians and researchers, and 17,800 registered nurses and advanced practice providers, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic is a 6,500-bed health system that includes a 173-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 21 hospitals, more than 220 outpatient facilities, including locations in northeast Ohio; southeast Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2021, there were 10.2 million total outpatient visits, 304,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 259,000 surgical cases throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 185 countries. Visit us at Follow us at News and resources available at

Editor’s Note: Cleveland Clinic News Service is available to provide broadcast-quality interviews and B-roll upon request.