JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Utility of bronchoalveolar lavage for COVID-19: a perspective from the Dragon consortium.

Diagnosing COVID-19 and treating its complications remains a challenge. This review reflects the perspective of some of the Dragon (IMI 2-call 21, #101005122) research consortium collaborators on the utility of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) in COVID-19. BAL has been proposed as a potentially useful diagnostic tool to increase COVID-19 diagnosis sensitivity. In both critically ill and non-critically ill COVID-19 patients, BAL has a relevant role in detecting other infections or supporting alternative diagnoses and can change management decisions in up to two-thirds of patients. BAL is used to guide steroid and immunosuppressive treatment and to narrow or discontinue antibiotic treatment, reducing the use of unnecessary broad antibiotics. Moreover, cellular analysis and novel multi-omics techniques on BAL are of critical importance for understanding the microenvironment and interaction between epithelial cells and immunity, revealing novel potential prognostic and therapeutic targets. The BAL technique has been described as safe for both patients and healthcare workers in more than a thousand procedures reported to date in the literature. Based on these preliminary studies, we recognize that BAL is a feasible procedure in COVID-19 known or suspected cases, useful to properly guide patient management, and has great potential for research.

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