Top 5 Infectious Disease Content of 2021

This year's most-viewed content in infectious disease was dominated by COVID-19, as the Delta variant continued to strain the US health care system. It also included news about Clostridioides difficile.

This year's most-viewed content in infectious disease on AJMC.com was dominated by COVID-19, as the United States tried to increase uptake of vaccinations through mandates as the Delta variant continued to strain the health care system.

Here are the 5 most-viewed infectious disease pieces of 2021.

5. US to Require Most Firms to Mandate Vaccination Against COVID-19

In September, as the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 was gripping America, President Joe Biden announced his administration would require all employers with 100 or more workers to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations or have employees undergo weekly testing. The requirements would also apply to health care workers in facilities that receive CMS funding as well as federal contractors. However, the move sparked a flurry of lawsuits that are headed for the Supreme Court; on Friday, December 17, as the Omicron variant was on it way to dominating US infection cases, the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled for the administration, but opponents appealed to the high court.

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4. Shoe Soles Are a Major Cause of C difficile Transmission

Research presented at IDWeek 2021 found that 26% of samples taken from inside and outside health care facilities in 12 countries tested positive for Clostridium difficile, with shoe soles having the highest positivity rates. Scientists said to help prevent the spread of the infection, washing hands and removing shoes before entering the home can drastically help reduce the spread.

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3. FDA Committee Votes Against COVID-19 Vaccine Booster for General Population

Also in September, the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee recommended against a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot for individuals 16 years and older in a 16-to-2 vote, but unanimously recommended the booster in individuals 65 years and older and those at high risk of severe COVID-19. Subsequently, in November, the FDA approved boosters for all adults, and in December, teenagers were cleared to receive a booster as well.

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2. Dr Colleen R. Kelly on the Lack of Evidence to Support Probiotics for C difficile

While patients may spend money on probiotics, they really represent a form of “magical thinking” when it comes to Clostridioides difficile infection, according to Colleen R. Kelly, MD, FACG, gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Kelly discussed the topic in a video interview, saying that recently updated guidelines to treat C difficile note that that there really is no basis to recommend probiotics and that they could cause harm.

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1. Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Shows Dip in Effectiveness Against Delta Variant

This July story reported that 2 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are 88% effective against the more contagious Delta strain, somewhat lower than the 95% to 100% efficacy against severe disease seen in pivotal, randomized, late-stage trials. A single dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or the AstraZeneca vaccine is even less effective against Delta, which became the dominant strain in the country earlier in 2021.

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