- Kenny Lin, MD, MPH
Two years into the pandemic, our most popular blog posts continue to focus on prevention or treatment of COVID-19. As you are hopefully enjoying time with family and friends over the holidays, here is an opportunity to catch up on the top 10 most-read AFP Community Blog posts of 2021.
1. Patient-centered discussion of COVID-19 infection and mRNA vaccines (June 1) - 2188 viewsFew patients understand what the SARS-CoV-2 virus does to the human body or how a COVID-19 messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine works. The following patient-centered explanation utilizes readily understood metaphors and two clear, simple illustrations that you may use in your vaccine counseling visits.
2. Can Choosing Wisely prevent acute low back pain from becoming chronic? (March 8) - 1142 viewsCan guideline-discordant care for patients with acute low back pain increase the risk of progression to chronic low back pain? In an study published in JAMA Network Open, researchers enrolled 5233 adults with acute low back pain from 77 U.S. primary care practices, assessed their baseline risk of transition to chronic pain, and followed them for 6 months.
3. Discussing COVID-19 vaccine risks with patients (July 6) - 861 viewsResearchers reviewed two-and-a-half months of data from vaccine safety surveillance systems, including over 35,000 pregnant persons, and found rates of preterm birth and miscarriage comparable to established rates pre-pandemic.
4. COVID vaccine boosters: now, later, or never? (August 2) - 816 viewsReports of breakthrough infections in persons fully vaccinated have contributed to many alarming headlines, though public health experts have been quick to emphasize that the vast majority of severe infections are occurring in unvaccinated persons.
5. COVID vaccine update: new data and new vaccines (February 1) - 807 viewsAssuming supply and distribution challenges are eventually overcome, vaccine hesitancy may pose another threat to decreasing SARS-CoV-2 transmission, which is critical to slowing the development of additional COVID variants.
6. New (old) treatments for COVID: inhaled budesonide and the -umabs (February 15) - 796 viewsResearchers have identified two classes of medications that may benefit patients with symptomatic COVID-19, both well-known medications already in use for other conditions.
7. Interpretation and use of COVID-19 diagnostic tests: key resources (April 20) - 746 viewsA analysis in the Annals of Internal Medicine estimated that a weekly home-based antigen testing program could avert 2.8 million infections and 15,700 deaths in the U.S. over a 60-day time frame, at a cost of less than $8000 per infection averted.
8. Understanding and managing long COVID (May 3) - 725 viewsThe racial health disparities seen in acute COVID-19 will likely translate into similar disparities in long COVID, exacerbated by structural barriers to health and care access (economic, geographical, housing and segregation, and occupational) that could impede recovery.
9. Should we choose ARBs over ACEis for hypertension? (October 25) - 703 viewsThere was no statistically significant difference between the ACEi and the ARB groups regarding risk of CVD events, but ACEi patients had more adverse medication reactions.
10. Pharmacogenetic testing's promise, problems and pitfalls (July 27) - 673 viewsThough pharmacogenetic testing holds promise for improving clinical decision-making, race-based testing recommendations are problematic. Even a racially homogenous European country such as Switzerland exhibits wide genetic diversity in the frequency of the HLA-B*58:01 allele, with one city (Basel) actually having a higher frequency than the U.S. African American population.