Front Pediatr. 2021 Apr 1;9:590969. doi: 10.3389/fped.2021.590969. eCollection 2021.
Bacterial infections remain a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the neonatal period. Therefore, many neonates, including late preterm and term neonates, are exposed to antibiotics in the first weeks of life. Data on the importance of inter-individual differences and disease signatures are accumulating. Differences that may potentially influence treatment requirement and success rate. However, currently, many neonates are treated following a "one size fits all" approach, based on general protocols and standard antibiotic treatment regimens. Precision medicine has emerged in the last years and is perceived as a new, holistic, way of stratifying patients based on large-scale data including patient characteristics and disease specific features. Specific to sepsis, differences in disease susceptibility, disease severity, immune response and pharmacokinetics and -dynamics can be used for the development of treatment algorithms helping clinicians decide when and how to treat a specific patient or a specific subpopulation. In this review, we highlight the current and future developments that could allow transition to a more precise manner of antibiotic treatment in late preterm and term neonates, and propose a research agenda toward precision medicine for neonatal bacterial infections.