The COVID-19 pandemic has given us a new appreciation for the role of public health. While our public health departments and hospitals continue to manage vaccination and cases resulting from new variants, we also know that those of you battling C. diff infections still need our help. Please know that we are still here for you through our Facebook page, C. diff Support Community and through our Contact Page.
We are also working with members of our Scientific Advisory Council to field and answer questions about C. diff and COVID-19. Please note that this is not medical advice. We are just providing general information to help guide your conversations with your healthcare providers.We will continue to update this blog post with additional questions and answers as we process them.
COVID-19 and C. diff Frequently Asked Questions
Will the mRNA vaccines the prevent COVID-19 infections make me vulnerable to a new or recurrent C. diff infection?
There is no evidence that any vaccine to prevent COVID-19 increase risk for C. diff infection, nor any plausible reason to think that may occur. These vaccines are not antibiotics. In fact, getting severe COVID and requiring hospitalization (and then potentially requiring antibiotics) may increase risk for C. diff so vaccination, by protecting against COVID hospitalization, may indirectly protect against C. diff.
Does having an active C. diff infection make me more vulnerable to coronavirus?
Possibly. Because the same loss of colonization resistance (having a health gut microbiome) that predisposes to C. diff infection may predispose to susceptibility to COVID-19, which does appear to have enteric transmission (can be transmitted by the mouth into the intestines).
Are people who have recovered from C. diff considered “immuno-compromised?”
Not necessarily, unless the patient also has another underlying health issue (related or unrelated to CDI).
I had a fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) for C. diff. Does that make me more vulnerable to COVID-19?
We asked three doctors who perform FMT. They did not believe C. diff survivors who had recovered through FMT were at increased risk for COVID-19. They even suspect that some FMT recipients may have slightly better immunity, but there’s no data at this time.
Can COVID-19 be transmitted through a fecal microbiota transplant (FMT)?
Possibly. On March 23, the FDA issued a Safety Alert regarding the possible transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 through fecal transplant. Read more on our blog.
Can the drugs being used for COVID-19 reactive C. diff infections?
There are, at present, no drugs that have been definitively shown to be effective against COVID-19 specifically. There are investigational therapies that are being evaluated in clinical trials, including agents that are known to increase risk of CDI. COVID-19 can lead to bacterial infections requiring antibiotics, which can also increase risk of CDI.
Does actively taking vancomycin deplete my immune system?
No. It is unlikely that actively taking vancomycin would significantly reduce the numbers of immune cells or otherwise impair the immune system acutely. Patients taking vancomycin for C. difficile should not discontinue vancomycin because of concern of COVID-19. However, vancomycin may also have risks relating to COVID-19 that have not yet been identified.