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1.  N348I in the Connection Domain of HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase Confers Zidovudine and Nevirapine Resistance 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(12):e335.
Background
The catalytically active 66-kDa subunit of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcriptase (RT) consists of DNA polymerase, connection, and ribonuclease H (RNase H) domains. Almost all known RT inhibitor resistance mutations identified to date map to the polymerase domain of the enzyme. However, the connection and RNase H domains are not routinely analysed in clinical samples and none of the genotyping assays available for patient management sequence the entire RT coding region. The British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (the Centre) genotypes clinical isolates up to codon 400 in RT, and our retrospective statistical analyses of the Centre's database have identified an N348I mutation in the RT connection domain in treatment-experienced individuals. The objective of this multidisciplinary study was to establish the in vivo relevance of this mutation and its role in drug resistance.
Methods and Findings
The prevalence of N348I in clinical isolates, the time taken for it to emerge under selective drug pressure, and its association with changes in viral load, specific drug treatment, and known drug resistance mutations was analysed from genotypes, viral loads, and treatment histories from the Centre's database. N348I increased in prevalence from below 1% in 368 treatment-naïve individuals to 12.1% in 1,009 treatment-experienced patients (p = 7.7 × 10−12). N348I appeared early in therapy and was highly associated with thymidine analogue mutations (TAMs) M41L and T215Y/F (p < 0.001), the lamivudine resistance mutations M184V/I (p < 0.001), and non-nucleoside RTI (NNRTI) resistance mutations K103N and Y181C/I (p < 0.001). The association with TAMs and NNRTI resistance mutations was consistent with the selection of N348I in patients treated with regimens that included both zidovudine and nevirapine (odds ratio 2.62, 95% confidence interval 1.43–4.81). The appearance of N348I was associated with a significant increase in viral load (p < 0.001), which was as large as the viral load increases observed for any of the TAMs. However, this analysis did not account for the simultaneous selection of other RT or protease inhibitor resistance mutations on viral load. To delineate the role of this mutation in RT inhibitor resistance, N348I was introduced into HIV-1 molecular clones containing different genetic backbones. N348I decreased zidovudine susceptibility 2- to 4-fold in the context of wild-type HIV-1 or when combined with TAMs. N348I also decreased susceptibility to nevirapine (7.4-fold) and efavirenz (2.5-fold) and significantly potentiated resistance to these drugs when combined with K103N. Biochemical analyses of recombinant RT containing N348I provide supporting evidence for the role of this mutation in zidovudine and NNRTI resistance and give some insight into the molecular mechanism of resistance.
Conclusions
This study provides the first in vivo evidence that treatment with RT inhibitors can select a mutation (i.e., N348I) outside the polymerase domain of the HIV-1 RT that confers dual-class resistance. Its emergence, which can happen early during therapy, may significantly impact on a patient's response to antiretroviral therapies containing zidovudine and nevirapine. This study also provides compelling evidence for investigating the role of other mutations in the connection and RNase H domains in virological failure.
Analyzing HIV sequences from a Canadian cohort, Gilda Tachedjian and colleagues identify a common mutation in a little-studied domain of reverse transcriptase that confers resistance to two drug classes.
Editors' Summary
Background.
In the 1980s, infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), was a death sentence. Although the first antiretroviral drugs (compounds that block HIV's life cycle) were developed quickly, single antiretrovirals only transiently suppress HIV infection. HIV rapidly accumulates random changes (mutations) in its genetic material, some of which make it drug resistant. Nowadays, there are many different antiretrovirals. Some inhibit the viral protease, an enzyme used to assemble new viruses. Others block reverse transcriptase (RT), which makes replicates of the genes of the virus. Nucleoside/nucleotide RT inhibitors (NRTIs; for example, zidovudine—also called AZT—and lamivudine) and non-nucleoside RT inhibitors (NNRTIs; for example, nevirapine and efavirenz) interfere with the activity of RT by binding to different sites in its so-called “DNA polymerase domain,” the part of the enzyme that constructs copies of the viral genes. Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), which was introduced in the mid 1990s, combines several antiretrovirals (usually a protease inhibitor and two NRTIs or an NNRTI and two NRTIs) so that the replication of any virus that develops resistance to one drug is inhibited by the other drugs in the mix. When treated with HAART, HIV infection is usually a chronic, stable condition rather than a fatal disease.
Why Was This Study Done?
Unfortunately, HIV that is resistant to drugs still develops in some patients. To improve the prevention and management of drug resistance, a better understanding of the mutations that cause resistance is needed. Resistance to RT inhibitors usually involves mutations in the DNA polymerase domain that reduce the efficacy of NRTIs (including thymidine analogue mutations—also known as TAMs—and lamivudine-resistance mutations) and NNRTIs. Blood tests that detect these resistance mutations (genotype tests) have been used for several years to guide individualized selection of HIV drugs. Recently, however, mutations outside the DNA polymerase domain have also been implicated in resistance to RT inhibitors. In this study, the researchers have used data and samples collected since the mid 1990s by Canada's British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS to investigate the clinical relevance of a mutation called N348I. This mutation changes an asparagine (a type of amino acid) to an isoleucine in a region of RT known as the connection domain. The researchers have also investigated how this mutation causes resistance to RT inhibitors in laboratory tests.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed the first two-thirds of the RT gene in viruses isolated from a large number of the Centre's patients. Virus carrying the N348I mutation was present in less than one in 100 patients whose HIV infection had never been treated, but in more than one in 10 treatment-experienced patients. The mutation appeared early in therapy, often in viruses that had TAMs, a lamivudine-resistance mutation called M184V/I, and/or NNRTI resistance mutations. Patients treated with zidovudine and nevirapine were 2.6 times more likely to have the N348I mutation than patients not treated with these drugs. Furthermore, the appearance of the N348I mutation often coincided with an increase in viral load, although other mutations that appeared at a similar time could have contributed to this increase. When the researchers introduced the N348I mutation into HIV growing in the laboratory, they found that it decreased the susceptibility of the virus to zidovudine and to NNRTIs.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that the treatment of patients with RT inhibitors can select a drug-resistant HIV variant that has a mutation outside the enzyme's DNA polymerase domain. Because this N348I mutation, which is commonly selected in vivo and has also been seen in other studies, confers resistance to two classes of RT inhibitors and can emerge early during therapy, it could have a large impact on patient responses to antiviral regimens that contain zidovudine and nevirapine. Although these findings do not show that the N348I mutation alone causes treatment failure, they may have implications for genotypic and phenotypic resistance testing, which is often used to guide treatment decisions. At present, genotype tests for resistance to RT inhibitors look for mutations only in the DNA polymerase domain of RT. This study is the first to demonstrate that it might be worth looking for the N348I mutation (and for other mutations outside the DNA polymerase domain) to improve the ability of genotypic and phenotypic resistance tests to predict treatment outcomes.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040335.
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including links to fact sheets (in English, French, and Spanish) about antiretrovirals, and chapters explaining antiretroviral resistance testing
NAM, a UK registered charity, provides information about all aspects of HIV and AIDS, including fact sheets on types of HIV drugs, drug resistance, and resistance tests (in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Russian)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on HIV/AIDS and on treatment (in English and Spanish)
AIDSinfo, a service of the US Department of Health and Human Services provides information for patients on HIV and its treatment
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040335
PMCID: PMC2100143  PMID: 18052601
2.  Antiretroviral Drug Susceptibility Among HIV-Infected Adults Failing Antiretroviral Therapy in Rakai, Uganda 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2012;28(12):1739-1744.
Abstract
We analyzed antiretroviral drug susceptibility in HIV-infected adults failing first- and second-line antiretroviral treatment (ART) in Rakai, Uganda. Samples obtained from participants at baseline (pretreatment) and at the time of failure on first-line ART and second-line ART were analyzed using genotypic and phenotypic assays for antiretroviral drug resistance. Test results were obtained from 73 samples from 38 individuals (31 baseline samples, 36 first-line failure samples, and six second-line failure samples). Four (13%) of the 31 baseline samples had mutations associated with resistance to nucleoside or nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs and NNRTIs, respectively). Among the 36 first-line failure samples, 31 (86%) had NNRTI resistance mutations and 29 (81%) had lamivudine resistance mutations; only eight (22%) had other NRTI resistance mutations. None of the six individuals failing a second-line protease inhibitor (PI)-based regimen had PI resistance mutations. Six (16%) of the participants had discordant genotypic and phenotypic test results. Genotypic resistance to drugs included in first-line ART regimens was detected prior to treatment and among participants failing first-line ART. PI resistance was not detected in individuals failing second-line ART. Surveillance for transmitted and acquired drug resistance remains a priority for scale-up of ART.
doi:10.1089/aid.2011.0352
PMCID: PMC3505045  PMID: 22443282
3.  Comparison of Laboratory Methods for Analysis of Non-nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor Resistance in Ugandan Infants 
Detailed comparisons of HIV drug resistance assays are needed to identify the most useful assays for research studies, and to facilitate comparison of results from studies that use different methods. We analyzed nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) resistance in 40 HIV-infected Ugandan infants who had received nevirapine (NVP)-based prophylaxis using the following assays: an FDA-cleared HIV genotyping assay (the ViroSeq HIV-1 Genotyping System v2.0), a commercially available HIV genotyping assay (GeneSeq HIV), a commercially available HIV phenotyping assay (PhenoSense HIV), and a sensitive point mutation assay (LigAmp). ViroSeq and GeneSeq HIV results (NVP resistance yes/no) were similar for 38 (95%) of 40 samples. In 6 (15%) of 40 samples, GeneSeq HIV detected mutations in minor subpopulations that were not detected by ViroSeq, which identified two additional infants with NVP resistance. LigAmp detected low-level mutations in 12 samples that were not detected by ViroSeq; however, LigAmp testing identified only one additional infant with NVP resistance. GeneSeq HIV and PhenoSense HIV determinations of susceptibility differed for specific NNRTIs in 12 (31%) of the 39 samples containing mixtures at relevant mutation positions. PhenoSense HIV did not detect any infants with NVP resistance who were not identified with GeneSeq HIV testing. In this setting, population sequencing-based methods (ViroSeq and GeneSeq HIV) were the most informative and had concordant results for 95% of the samples. LigAmp was useful for the detection and quantification of minority variants. PhenoSense HIV provided a direct and quantitative measure of NNRTI susceptibility.
doi:10.1089/aid.2008.0235
PMCID: PMC2799186  PMID: 19621988
4.  Comparison of Laboratory Methods for Analysis of Non-nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor Resistance in Ugandan Infants 
Abstract
Detailed comparisons of HIV drug resistance assays are needed to identify the most useful assays for research studies, and to facilitate comparison of results from studies that use different methods. We analyzed nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) resistance in 40 HIV-infected Ugandan infants who had received nevirapine (NVP)-based prophylaxis using the following assays: an FDA-cleared HIV genotyping assay (the ViroSeq HIV-1 Genotyping System v2.0), a commercially available HIV genotyping assay (GeneSeq HIV), a commercially available HIV phenotyping assay (PhenoSense HIV), and a sensitive point mutation assay (LigAmp). ViroSeq and GeneSeq HIV results (NVP resistance yes/no) were similar for 38 (95%) of 40 samples. In 6 (15%) of 40 samples, GeneSeq HIV detected mutations in minor subpopulations that were not detected by ViroSeq, which identified two additional infants with NVP resistance. LigAmp detected low-level mutations in 12 samples that were not detected by ViroSeq; however, LigAmp testing identified only one additional infant with NVP resistance. GeneSeq HIV and PhenoSense HIV determinations of susceptibility differed for specific NNRTIs in 12 (31%) of the 39 samples containing mixtures at relevant mutation positions. PhenoSense HIV did not detect any infants with NVP resistance who were not identified with GeneSeq HIV testing. In this setting, population sequencing-based methods (ViroSeq and GeneSeq HIV) were the most informative and had concordant results for 95% of the samples. LigAmp was useful for the detection and quantification of minority variants. PhenoSense HIV provided a direct and quantitative measure of NNRTI susceptibility.
doi:10.1089/aid.2008.0235
PMCID: PMC2799186  PMID: 19621988
5.  Emergence of Drug Resistance Is Associated with an Increased Risk of Death among Patients First Starting HAART 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(9):e356.
Background
The impact of the emergence of drug-resistance mutations on mortality is not well characterized in antiretroviral-naïve patients first starting highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Patients may be able to sustain immunologic function with resistant virus, and there is limited evidence that reduced sensitivity to antiretrovirals leads to rapid disease progression or death. We undertook the present analysis to characterize the determinants of mortality in a prospective cohort study with a median of nearly 5 y of follow-up. The objective of this study was to determine the impact of the emergence of drug-resistance mutations on survival among persons initiating HAART.
Methods and Findings
Participants were antiretroviral therapy naïve at entry and initiated triple combination antiretroviral therapy between August 1, 1996, and September 30, 1999. Marginal structural modeling was used to address potential confounding between time-dependent variables in the Cox proportional hazard regression models. In this analysis resistance to any class of drug was considered as a binary time-dependent exposure to the risk of death, controlling for the effect of other time-dependent confounders. We also considered each separate class of mutation as a binary time-dependent exposure, while controlling for the presence/absence of other mutations. A total of 207 deaths were identified among 1,138 participants over the follow-up period, with an all cause mortality rate of 18.2%. Among the 679 patients with HIV-drug-resistance genotyping done before initiating HAART, HIV-drug resistance to any class was observed in 53 (7.8%) of the patients. During follow-up, HIV-drug resistance to any class was observed in 302 (26.5%) participants. Emergence of any resistance was associated with mortality (hazard ratio: 1.75 [95% confidence interval: 1.27, 2.43]). When we considered each class of resistance separately, persons who exhibited resistance to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors had the highest risk: mortality rates were 3.02 times higher (95% confidence interval: 1.99, 4.57) for these patients than for those who did not exhibit this type of resistance.
Conclusions
We demonstrated that emergence of resistance to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors was associated with a greater risk of subsequent death than was emergence of protease inhibitor resistance. Future research is needed to identify the particular subpopulations of men and women at greatest risk and to elucidate the impact of resistance over a longer follow-up period.
Emergence of resistance to both non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and protease inhibitors was associated with a higher risk of subsequent death, but the risk was greater in patients with NNRTI-resistant HIV.
Editors' Summary
Background.
In the 1980s, infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was effectively a death sentence. HIV causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) by replicating inside immune system cells and destroying them, which leaves infected individuals unable to fight off other viruses and bacteria. The first antiretroviral drugs were developed quickly, but it soon became clear that single antiretrovirals only transiently suppress HIV infection. HIV mutates (accumulates random changes to its genetic material) very rapidly and, although most of these changes (or mutations) are bad for the virus, by chance some make it drug resistant. Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), which was introduced in the mid-1990s, combines three or four antiretroviral drugs that act at different stages of the viral life cycle. For example, they inhibit the reverse transcriptase that the virus uses to replicate its genetic material, or the protease that is necessary to assemble new viruses. With HAART, the replication of any virus that develops resistance to one drug is inhibited by the other drugs in the mix. As a consequence, for many individuals with access to HAART, AIDS has become a chronic rather than a fatal disease. However, being on HAART requires patients to take several pills a day at specific times. In addition, the drugs in the HAART regimens often have side effects.
Why Was This Study Done?
Drug resistance still develops even with HAART, often because patients don't stick to the complicated regimens. The detection of resistance to one drug is usually the prompt to change a patient's drug regimen to head off possible treatment failure. Although most patients treated with HAART live for many years, some still die from AIDS. We don't know much about how the emergence of drug-resistance mutations affects mortality in patients who are starting antiretroviral therapy for the first time. In this study, the researchers looked at how the emergence of drug resistance affected survival in a group of HIV/AIDS patients in British Columbia, Canada. Here, everyone with HIV/AIDS has access to free medical attention, HAART, and laboratory monitoring, and full details of all HAART recipients are entered into a central reporting system.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers enrolled people who started antiretroviral therapy for the first time between August 1996 and September 1999 into the HAART Observational Medical Evaluation and Research (HOMER) cohort. They then excluded anyone who was infected with already drug-resistant HIV strains (based on the presence of drug-resistance mutations in viruses isolated from the patients) at the start of therapy. The remaining 1,138 patients were followed for an average of five years. All the patients received either two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and a protease inhibitor, or two nucleoside and one non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI). Nearly a fifth of the study participants died during the follow-up period. Most of these patients actually had drug-sensitive viruses, possibly because they had neglected taking their drugs to such an extent that there had been insufficient drug exposure to select for drug-resistant viruses. In a quarter of the patients, however, HIV strains resistant to one or more antiretroviral drugs emerged during the study (again judged by looking for mutations). Detailed statistical analyses indicated that the emergence of any drug resistance nearly doubled the risk of patients dying, and that people carrying viruses resistant to NNRTIs were three times as likely to die as those without resistance to this class of antiretroviral drug.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These results provide new information about the emergence of drug-resistant HIV during HAART and possible effects on the long-term survival of patients. In particular, they suggest that clinicians should watch carefully for the emergence of resistance to NNRTIs in their patients. Because this type of resistance is often due to poor adherence to drug regimens, these results also suggest that increased efforts should be made to ensure that patients comply with the prescribed HAART regimens, especially those whose antiretroviral therapy includes NNRTIs. As with all studies in which a group of individuals who share a common characteristic are studied over time, it is possible that some other, unmeasured difference between the patients who died and those who didn't—rather than emerging drug resistance—is responsible for the observed differences in survival. Additional studies are needed to confirm the findings here, and to investigate whether specific subpopulations of patients are at particular risk of developing drug resistance and/or dying during HAART.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030356.
US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases fact sheet on HIV infection and AIDS
US Department of Health and Human Services information on AIDS, including details of approved drugs for the treatment of HIV infection
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information on HIV/AIDS
Aidsmap, information on HIV and AIDS provided by the charity NAM, which includes details on antiretroviral drugs
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030356
PMCID: PMC1569883  PMID: 16984218
6.  Short Communication: Characterization of Drug-Resistance Mutations in HIV Type 1 Isolates from Drug-Naive and ARV-Treated Patients in Bulgaria 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2008;24(9):1133-1138.
Abstract
Little information is available about the prevalence of resistance mutations to reverse transcriptase (RT) and protease (PR) inhibitors of HIV-1, after the introduction of antiretroviral treatment in Bulgaria. To fill this gap, we analyzed 80 plasma samples from HIV-1-infected Bulgarian patients, 22 naive at antiretroviral treatment (ARV) and 58 ARV experienced. The subtypes B and A resulted in the two most prevalent (41 patients and 18 patients, respectively). The proportion of subtype B among naive and treated patients was similar in each group (57% vs. 47%, p = 0.62), while a major proportion of subtypes A was present in drug-naive patients rather than in treated patients [8/22 (36.4%) vs. 10/58 (17.2%), p = 0.08]. Two (9.1%) naive patients and 40 (70.1%) drug-experienced patients had viruses carrying at least one mutation conferring resistance to ARV drugs. Of 57 patients having experience with nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI), 32 (56.1%) had NRTI resistance mutations; 8/14 (57.2%) patients having experience with non-NRTI (NNRTI) had viruses carrying NNRTI resistance mutations; and 21/46 (45.7%) patients having experience with protease inhibitors (PI) had PI resistance mutations. The commonest resistance mutations resulted in the NRTI mutation M184V (42.1%) and the PI mutation L90M (24.1%). In conclusion, due to the detection of the substantial transmission of resistant variants to newly infected individuals, continuous surveillance is required, since greater access to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) will be expected in Bulgaria. Furthermore, surveillance of PR and RT sequences is also convenient to monitor the introduction of nonsubtype B HIV-1 strains in Bulgaria.
doi:10.1089/aid.2008.0042
PMCID: PMC2928031  PMID: 18788909
7.  HIV-1 Drug Resistance Emergence among Breastfeeding Infants Born to HIV-Infected Mothers during a Single-Arm Trial of Triple-Antiretroviral Prophylaxis for Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission: A Secondary Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(3):e1000430.
Analysis of a substudy of the Kisumu breastfeeding trial by Clement Zeh and colleagues reveals the emergence of HIV drug resistance in HIV-positive infants born to HIV-infected mothers treated with antiretroviral drugs.
Background
Nevirapine and lamivudine given to mothers are transmitted to infants via breastfeeding in quantities sufficient to have biologic effects on the virus; this may lead to an increased risk of a breastfed infant's development of resistance to maternal antiretrovirals. The Kisumu Breastfeeding Study (KiBS), a single-arm open-label prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) trial, assessed the safety and efficacy of zidovudine, lamivudine, and either nevirapine or nelfinavir given to HIV-infected women from 34 wk gestation through 6 mo of breastfeeding. Here, we present findings from a KiBS trial secondary analysis that evaluated the emergence of maternal ARV-associated resistance among 32 HIV-infected breastfed infants.
Methods and Findings
All infants in the cohort were tested for HIV infection using DNA PCR at multiple study visits during the 24 mo of the study, and plasma RNA viral load for all HIV-PCR–positive infants was evaluated retrospectively. Specimens from mothers and infants with viral load >1,000 copies/ml were tested for HIV drug resistance mutations. Overall, 32 infants were HIV infected by 24 mo of age, and of this group, 24 (75%) infants were HIV infected by 6 mo of age. Of the 24 infants infected by 6 mo, nine were born to mothers on a nelfinavir-based regimen, whereas the remaining 15 were born to mothers on a nevirapine-based regimen. All infants were also given single-dose nevirapine within 48 hours of birth. We detected genotypic resistance mutations in none of eight infants who were HIV-PCR positive by 2 wk of age (specimens from six infants were not amplifiable), for 30% (6/20) at 6 wk, 63% (14/22) positive at 14 wk, and 67% (16/24) at 6 mo post partum. Among the 16 infants with resistance mutations by 6 mo post partum, the common mutations were M184V and K103N, conferring resistance to lamivudine and nevirapine, respectively. Genotypic resistance was detected among 9/9 (100%) and 7/15 (47%) infected infants whose mothers were on nelfinavir and nevirapine, respectively. No mutations were detected among the eight infants infected after the breastfeeding period (age 6 mo).
Conclusions
Emergence of HIV drug resistance mutations in HIV-infected infants occurred between 2 wk and 6 mo post partum, most likely because of exposure to maternal ARV drugs through breast milk. Our findings may impact the choice of regimen for ARV treatment of HIV-infected breastfeeding mothers and their infected infants.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00146380
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Globally, more than 2 million children are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and half a million children are newly infected every year. These infections are mainly the result of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or through breastfeeding. MTCT can be greatly reduced by treating HIV-positive mothers and their babies with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs). Without ARVs, up to half of babies born to HIV-positive mothers become infected with HIV. This rate of transmission falls to below 5% if a combination of three ARVs is given to the mother throughout pregnancy. Unfortunately, this triple-ARV therapy is too expensive for use in the resource-limited countries where most MTCT occurs. Instead, many such countries have introduced simpler, shorter ARV regimens such as a daily dose of zidovudine (a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor or NRTI) given to HIV-positive women during late pregnancy coupled with single-dose nevirapine (a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor or NNRTI) at the onset of labor, zidovudine and lamivudine (another NRTI) during labor and delivery, and single-dose nevirapine given to the baby at birth.
Why Was This Study Done?
More than 95% of HIV-exposed children are born in resource-limited settings where breastfeeding is the norm and is crucial for child survival even though it poses a risk of HIV transmission. Consequently, several recent studies have investigated whether MTCT can be further reduced by giving the mother ARVs while she is breastfeeding. In the Kisumu Breastfeeding Study (KiBS), for example, researchers assessed the effects of giving zidovudine, lamivudine, and either nevirapine or nelfinavir (a protease inhibitor) to HIV-infected women from 34 weeks of pregnancy through 6 months of breastfeeding. The results of KiBS indicate that this approach might be a safe, feasible way to reduce MTCT (see the accompanying paper by Thomas and colleagues). However, low amounts of nevirapine and lamivudine are transferred from mother to infant in breast milk and this exposure to ARVs could induce the development of resistance to ARVs among HIV-infected infants. In this KiBS substudy, the researchers investigate whether HIV drug resistance emerged in any of the HIV-positive infants in the parent study.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In KiBS, 32 infants were HIV-positive at 24 months old; 24 were HIV-positive at 6 months old when their mothers stopped taking ARVs and when breastfeeding was supposed to stop. The researchers analyzed blood samples taken from these infants at various ages and from their mothers for the presence of HIV drug resistance mutations (DNA changes that make HIV resistant to killing by ARVs). They detected no resistance mutations in samples taken from 2-week old HIV-positive infants or from the infants who became infected after the age of 6 months. However, they found resistance mutations in a third and two-thirds of samples taken from 6-week and 6-month old HIV-positive infants, respectively. The commonest mutations conferred resistance to lamivudine and nevirapine. Moreover, resistance mutations were present in samples taken from all the HIV-positive infants whose mothers who had received nelfinavir but in only half those taken from infants whose mothers who had received nevirapine. Finally, most of the mothers of HIV-positive infants had no HIV drug resistance mutations, and only one mother-infant pair had an overlapping pattern of HIV drug resistance mutations.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that, in this KiBS substudy, the emergence of HIV drug resistance mutations in HIV-infected infants whose mothers were receiving ARVs occurred between 2 weeks and 6 months after birth. The pattern of mutations suggests that drug resistance most likely arose through exposure of the infants to low levels of ARVs in breast milk rather than through MTCT of drug-resistant virus. These findings need confirming but suggest that infants exposed to ARVs through breast milk—a situation that may become increasingly common given the reduction in MTCT seen in KiBS and other similar trials—should be carefully monitored for HIV infection. Providers should consider the mothers' regimen when choosing treatment for infants who are found to be HIV-infected despite maternal triple drug prophylaxis. Infants exposed to a maternal regimen with NNRTI drugs should receive first-line therapy with lopinavir/ritonavir, a protease inhibitor. The significance of the NRTI mutations such as M184V with regard to response to therapy needs further evaluation. The M184V mutation may result in hypersensitization to other NRTI drugs and delay or reverse zidovudine resistance. Given the limited availability of alternative drugs for infants in resource-limited settings, provision of the standard WHO-recommended first-line NRTI backbone, which includes 3TC, with enhanced monitoring of the infant to ensure virologic suppression, could be considered. Such an approach should reduce both illness and morbidity among infants who become HIV positive through breastfeeding.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000430.
The accompanying PLoS Medicine Research article by Thomas and colleagues describes the primary findings of the Kisumu Breastfeeding Study
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on HIV/AIDS
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on children, HIV, and AIDS and on preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV (in English and Spanish)
UNICEF also has information about children and HIV and AIDS (in several languages)
The World Health organization has information on mother-to-child transmission of HIV (in several languages), and guidance on the use of ARVs for preventing MTCT
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000430
PMCID: PMC3066134  PMID: 21468304
8.  Major HIV resistance mutations in untreated Romanian patients  
Journal of Medicine and Life  2011;4(2):151-157.
Drug resistance mutations are frequently detected in antiretroviral–naive HIV positive patients, however the data on transmitted resistance in non-B subtypes are limited. As HIV1 subtype F is prevalent in Romania, our goal is to analyze resistance mutations in the pol gene of HIV–1 isolates from drug–naive Romanian patients. HIV–1 pol gene from 12 untreated patients, newly diagnosed (n = 6) and chronically infected (n=6), with detectable HIV RNA viral load was genotyped and the viral subtype was determined by using the Stanford database algorithm. 8/12 strains belonged to the F subtype, 1/12 to the G subtype, and the rest of the studied strains appeared to be K/F, A/F and J/F inter–subtype recombinant forms. The prevalence of HIV–1 strains with at least one major drug resistance mutation in the studied group was unexpectedly high. Major mutations associated with NRTI, NNRTI and PI resistance were detected in 6/12 patients, 2/12 patients and 3/12 patients, respectively; in addition all viral strains had minor mutations in the protease gene. Newly diagnosed patients harbored resistant variants more often than chronically infected ones (4/6 vs. 2/6) did. These data support the use of genotypic resistance testing in treatment–naive HIV positive patients, in order to guide the selection of the first line of antiretrovirals, due to the fact that persons with transmitted drug resistance have a higher risk for both virologic failure and development of resistance at treatment initiation.
HIV–Human immunodeficiency virus; TDR–transmitted drug resistance; HAART–highly active antiretroviral therapy ; SDRM–surveillance list of drug resistance mutations ; NRTIs–nucleos(t)idic reverse–transcriptase inhibitors; NNRTIs– non–nucleosidic reverse transcriptase inhibitors; PIs–protease inhibitors; TAMs–thy–midine analogue mutations; 3TC –lamivudine ; FTC–emtricitabine ; ddI –didanosine ; ABC–abacavir ; ZDV–zidovudine ; d4T–stavudine ; TDF –tenofovir
PMCID: PMC3124271  PMID: 21776297
HIV; subtype F; naive patients; transmitted drug resistance
9.  Efficacy of Short-Course AZT Plus 3TC to Reduce Nevirapine Resistance in the Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission: A Randomized Clinical Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(10):e1000172.
Neil Martinson and colleagues report a randomized trial of adding short-course zidovudine+lamivudine to reduce drug resistance from single-dose nevirapine used to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Background
Single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP)—which prevents mother-to-child transmission of HIV—selects non-nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) resistance mutations in the majority of women and HIV-infected infants receiving it. This open-label, randomised trial examined the efficacy of short-course zidovudine (AZT) and lamivudine (3TC) with sdNVP in reducing NNRTI resistance in mothers, and as a secondary objective, in infants, in a setting where sdNVP was standard-of-care.
Methods and Findings
sdNVP alone, administered at the onset of labour and to the infant, was compared to sdNVP with AZT plus 3TC, given as combivir (CBV) for 4 (NVP/CBV4) or 7 (NVP/CBV7) days, initiated simultaneously with sdNVP in labour; their newborns received the same regimens. Women were randomised 1∶1∶1. HIV-1 resistance was assessed by population sequencing at: baseline, 2, and 6 wk after birth. An unplanned interim analysis resulted in early stopping of the sdNVP arm. 406 pregnant women were randomised and took study medication (sdNVP 74, NVP/CBV4 164, and NVP/CBV7 168). HIV-1 resistance mutations emerged in 59.2%, 11.7%, and 7.3% of women in the sdNVP, NVP/CBV4, and NVP/CBV7 arms by 6 wk postpartum; differences between NVP-only and both NVP/CBV arms were significant (p<0.0001), but the difference between NVP/CBV4 and NVP/CBV7 was not (p = 0.27). Estimated efficacy comparing combined CBV arms with sdNVP was 85.6%. Similar resistance reductions were seen in infants who were HIV-infected by their 6-wk visit.
Conclusions
A short course of AZT plus 3TC, supplementing maternal and infant sdNVP, reduces emergent NNRTI resistance mutations in both mothers and their infants. However, this trial was not powered to detect small differences between the CBV arms.
Trial registration
www.ClinicalTrials.gov NCT 00144183
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Currently, about 33 million people are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS. HIV can be treated with combination antiretroviral therapy (ART), commonly three individual antiretroviral drugs that together efficiently suppress the replication of the virus. HIV infection of a child by an HIV-positive mother during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or breastfeeding is called mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). In 2007, an estimated 420,000 children were newly infected with HIV, the majority through MTCT. Most of these mothers and children live in sub-Saharan Africa where child and maternal mortality rates are high and mortality in HIV-infected children is extremely high. MTCT is preventable and there is a global commitment, agreed at the UN General Assembly Session on HIV/AIDS in 2001, to reduce the proportion of infants infected with HIV by 50% by 2010.
Why Was This Study Done?
In many resource-limited settings, MTCT is prevented by giving a single dose of nevirapine (an antiretroviral drug which has a long duration in the body and protects the fetus during labor and delivery only) to HIV-infected women in labor and also to a baby within 72 hours of birth. However, nevirapine, a non-nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI), which suppresses the replication of the virus, is associated with increased resistance of HIV, in mother and child, to NNRTI. This resistance reduces the effectiveness of future treatments of both mother and child with combination ART that includes an NNRTI; such regimens are the mainstay for long-term treatment of HIV in developing countries. The researchers investigated whether giving other antiretroviral drugs with nevirapine, during labor and delivery, to both mother and her newborn reduced the chances of them developing resistance to NNRTIs.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers selected 406 HIV-positive pregnant women for study across five sites in South Africa between February 2003 and May 2007. The women and their newborn babies were randomly assigned to receive, either (i) a single dose of nevirapine, (ii) a single dose of nevirapine plus combivir (zidovudine combined with lamivudine) for four days, or (iii) a single dose of nevirapine plus combivir for seven days. At two days, two weeks, and six weeks after delivery blood was collected from mothers and babies. HIV virus from blood samples was analyzed for resistance mutations, and mothers and children with resistance mutations were monitored for a further 96 weeks until no resistance was detected or combination ART (also called “HAART”) was started. Enrollment into the single-dose nevirapine arm was stopped early because a very high rate of NNRTI resistance mutations was found and other investigators reported long-term bad consequences of NNRTI-resistance on subsequent ART. The two nevirapine plus combivir arms were continued. The researchers found that selection of resistance mutations by single-dose nevirapine was reduced in mother and child by the addition of zidovudine and lamivudine for a short period; resistance mutations were found in 59.2% of women who got nevirapine only but only 11.7%, and 7.3% of women treated nevirapine plus four days combivir, and nevirapine plus seven days combivir respectively. A reduction was also seen in new NNRTI resistant mutations in the HIV-infected infants that received combivir. The study did not have enough women to show that there was a real difference between the resistance in the four-day and seven-day combivir regimens.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that a short-course treatment of zidovudine and lamivudine in addition to a single dose of nevirapine during labor and birth reduces the selection of NNRTI resistance mutations in both mother and child. The drug regimens appeared safe, and easy to provide and adhere to. Preliminary results from this study contributed to a change in clinical practice for the care of pregnant women with HIV; in 2004 the World Health Organisation guidelines introduced a short course of combivir with nevirapine for the management of pregnant HIV-infected women. However, the study had some limitations. It used HIV-positive women who were mainly infected with a subtype of HIV called HIV-1 clade C and who had a lot of virus in their blood. NNRTI resistance after treatment with nevirapine is more common in clade C than in others and this study does not address the effect of these combinations for preventing NNRTI resistance in other HIV subtypes. Also, World Health Organization, national, and international guidelines recommend combination ART during pregnancy, as it decreases HIV transmission from mother to child in the uterus to <2% in resource-limited settings. Although long-term combination treatment may not be available in all locations, this study does not tell us how the short-term combinations during and after delivery tested would compare to longer-term combinations given to pregnant women in reducing both HIV transmission and HIV drug resistance.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000172.
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Lehman et al.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide information for HIV treatment and prevention
MedlinePlus provides extensive information on symptoms and treatment for HIV/AIDS as well as access to related clinical trials and medical literature
aidsmap, a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization provides information on HIV and supporting those living with HIV
The World Health Organization gives information on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000172
PMCID: PMC2760761  PMID: 19859531
10.  Short Communication: HIV Type 1 Transmitted Drug Resistance and Evidence of Transmission Clusters Among Recently Infected Antiretroviral-Naive Individuals from Ugandan Fishing Communities of Lake Victoria 
Abstract
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) prevalence and incidence in the fishing communities on Lake Victoria in Uganda are high. This population may play a role in driving the HIV epidemic in Uganda including the spread of transmitted drug resistance (TDR). We report data on TDR in this population among antiretroviral (ARV)-naive, recently infected individuals about 5 years after ARV scaling-up in Uganda. We identified phylogenetic transmission clusters and combined these with volunteer life histories in order to understand the sexual networks within this population. From a prospective cohort of 1,000 HIV-negative individuals recruited from five communities, 51 seroconverters were identified over a period of 2 years. From these, whole blood was collected and population sequencing of the HIV-1 pol gene (protease/reverse transcriptase) was performed from plasma. Drug resistance mutations (DRMs) were scored using the 2009 WHO list for surveillance of TDR. TDR prevalence categories were estimated using the WHO recommended truncated sampling technique for the surveillance of TDR for use in resource-limited settings (RLS). Of the samples 92% (47/51) were successfully genotyped. HIV-1 subtype frequencies were 15/47 (32%) A1, 20/47 (43%) D, 1/47 (2%) C, 1/47 (2%) G, and 10/47 (21%) unique recombinant forms. Nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) drug resistance mutation K103N was identified in two individuals and V106A in one (6%) suggesting that the level of TDR was moderate in this population. No nucleoside/tide reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) or protease inhibitor (PI) DRMs were detected. In this study, we identified five transmission clusters supported by high bootstrap values and low genetic distances. Of these, one pair included the two individuals with K103N. Two of the genotypic clusters corresponded with reported sexual partnerships as detected through prior in-depth interviews. The level of TDR to NNRTIs in these ARV-naive individuals was moderate by WHO threshold survey categorization. The transmission clusters suggest a high degree of sexual partner mixing between members of these communities.
doi:10.1089/aid.2012.0123
PMCID: PMC3636596  PMID: 23173702
11.  Genetic Diversity of Protease and Reverse Transcriptase Sequences in Non-Subtype-B Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Strains: Evidence of Many Minor Drug Resistance Mutations in Treatment-Naive Patients 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2000;38(11):3919-3925.
Most human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) drug susceptibility studies have involved subtype B strains. Little information on the impact of viral diversity on natural susceptibility to antiretroviral drugs has been reported. However, the prevalence of non-subtype-B (non-B) HIV type 1 (HIV-1) strains continues to increase in industrialized countries, and antiretroviral treatments have recently become available in certain developing countries where non-B subtypes predominate. We sequenced the protease and reverse transcriptase (RT) genes of 142 HIV-1 isolates from antiretroviral-naive patients: 4 belonged to group O and 138 belonged to group M (9 subtype A, 13 subtype B, 2 subtype C, 5 subtype D, 2 subtype F1, 9 subtype F2, 4 subtype G, 5 subtype J, 2 subtype K, 3 subtype CRF01-AE, 67 subtype CRF02-AG, and 17 unclassified isolates). No major mutations associated with resistance to nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) or protease inhibitors were detected. Major mutations linked to resistance to non-NRTI agents were detected in all group O isolates (A98G and Y181C) and in one subtype J virus (V108I). In contrast, many accessory mutations were found, especially in the protease gene. Only 5.6% of the 142 strains, all belonging to subtype B or D, had no mutations in the protease gene. Sixty percent had one mutation, 22.5% had two mutations, 9.8% had three mutations, and 2.1% (all group O strains) had four mutations. In order of decreasing frequency, the following mutations were identified in the protease gene: M36I (86.6%), L10I/V (26%), L63P (12.6%), K20M/R (11.2%), V77I (5.6%), A71V (2.8%), L33F (0.7%), and M46I (0.7%). R211K, an accessory mutation associated with NRTI resistance, was also observed in 43.6% of the samples. Phenotypic and clinical studies are now required to determine whether multidrug-resistant viruses emerge more rapidly during antiretroviral therapy when minor resistance-conferring mutations are present before treatment initiation.
PMCID: PMC87518  PMID: 11060045
12.  Phenotypic Hypersusceptibility to Multiple Protease Inhibitors and Low Replicative Capacity in Patients Who Are Chronically Infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 
Journal of Virology  2005;79(10):5907-5913.
Increased susceptibility to the protease inhibitors saquinavir and amprenavir has been observed in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) with specific mutations in protease (V82T and N88S). Increased susceptibility to ritonavir has also been described in some viruses from antiretroviral agent-naïve patients with primary HIV-1 infection in association with combinations of amino acid changes at polymorphic sites in the protease. Many of the viruses displaying increased susceptibility to protease inhibitors also had low replication capacity. In this retrospective study, we analyze the drug susceptibility phenotype and the replication capacity of virus isolates obtained at the peaks of viremia during five consecutive structured treatment interruptions in 12 chronically HIV-1-infected patients. Ten out of 12 patients had at least one sample with protease inhibitor hypersusceptibility (change ≤0.4-fold) to one or more protease inhibitor. Hypersusceptibility to different protease inhibitors was observed at variable frequency, ranging from 38% to amprenavir to 11% to nelfinavir. Pairwise comparisons between susceptibilities for the protease inhibitors showed a consistent correlation among all pairs. There was also a significant relationship between susceptibility to protease inhibitors and replication capacity in all patients. Replication capacity remained stable over the course of repetitive cycles of structured treatment interruptions. We could find no association between in vitro replication capacity and in vivo plasma viral load doubling time and CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell counts at each treatment interruption. Several mutations were associated with hypersusceptibility to each protease inhibitor in a univariate analysis. This study extends the association between hypersusceptibility to protease inhibitors and low replication capacity to virus isolated from chronically infected patients and highlights the complexity of determining the genetic basis of this phenomenon. The potential clinical relevance of protease inhibitor hypersusceptibility and low replication capacity to virologic response to protease inhibitor-based therapies deserves to be investigated further.
doi:10.1128/JVI.79.10.5907-5913.2005
PMCID: PMC1091704  PMID: 15857976
13.  Minority HIV-1 Drug Resistance Mutations Are Present in Antiretroviral Treatment–Naïve Populations and Associate with Reduced Treatment Efficacy 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(7):e158.
Background
Transmitted HIV-1 drug resistance can compromise initial antiretroviral therapy (ART); therefore, its detection is important for patient management. The absence of drug-associated selection pressure in treatment-naïve persons can cause drug-resistant viruses to decline to levels undetectable by conventional bulk sequencing (minority drug-resistant variants). We used sensitive and simple tests to investigate evidence of transmitted drug resistance in antiretroviral drug-naïve persons and assess the clinical implications of minority drug-resistant variants.
Methods and Findings
We performed a cross-sectional analysis of transmitted HIV-1 drug resistance and a case-control study of the impact of minority drug resistance on treatment response. For the cross-sectional analysis, we examined viral RNA from newly diagnosed ART-naïve persons in the US and Canada who had no detectable (wild type, n = 205) or one or more resistance-related mutations (n = 303) by conventional sequencing. Eight validated real-time PCR-based assays were used to test for minority drug resistance mutations (protease L90M and reverse transcriptase M41L, K70R, K103N, Y181C, M184V, and T215F/Y) above naturally occurring frequencies. The sensitive real-time PCR testing identified one to three minority drug resistance mutation(s) in 34/205 (17%) newly diagnosed persons who had wild-type virus by conventional genotyping; four (2%) individuals had mutations associated with resistance to two drug classes. Among 30/303 (10%) samples with bulk genotype resistance mutations we found at least one minority variant with a different drug resistance mutation. For the case-control study, we assessed the impact of three treatment-relevant drug resistance mutations at baseline from a separate group of 316 previously ART-naïve persons with no evidence of drug resistance on bulk genotype testing who were placed on efavirenz-based regimens. We found that 7/95 (7%) persons who experienced virologic failure had minority drug resistance mutations at baseline; however, minority resistance was found in only 2/221 (0.9%) treatment successes (Fisher exact test, p = 0.0038).
Conclusions
These data suggest that a considerable proportion of transmitted HIV-1 drug resistance is undetected by conventional genotyping and that minority mutations can have clinical consequences. With no treatment history to help guide therapies for drug-naïve persons, the findings suggest an important role for sensitive baseline drug resistance testing.
Using real-time PCR to detect HIV resistance mutations present at low levels, Jeffrey Johnson and colleagues investigate prevalence and clinical implications of minority transmitted mutations.
Editors' Summary
Background
Since the mid-1990s, several powerful antiretroviral drug combinations have been developed that have greatly improved the prognosis of HIV infection. All antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimens combine drugs that act against HIV in different ways (so-called different drug classes). Multiple drugs are necessary because HIV continually accumulates random changes (mutations) in its genetic material (genome). Some of these mutations make HIV resistant to individual antiretroviral drugs, so a mixture of drugs is needed to keep the virus in check. However, the efficacy of ART (which itself selects for drug-resistant variants by giving them a growth advantage over drug-sensitive variants) is substantially reduced when these variants account for more than about 20% of the viruses in an infected person. This level of variant virus can be detected in blood samples with a technique called bulk sequencing. In North America and Europe, where ART has been widely used for many years, around 20% of HIV-infected people who have taken ART themselves develop this level of drug-resistant virus, which can be transmitted by the same routes as nonresistant HIV (typically unprotected sexual intercourse or needle sharing). In such cases, the person acquiring drug-resistant HIV may experience treatment failure when drugs later fail to work against the resistant virus. In these countries, therefore, resistance testing by bulk sequencing is done routinely before ART is initiated to decide which antiviral drugs are likely to be effective.
Why Was This Study Done?
Several years usually elapse between the time a person becomes infected with HIV and the time he or she starts ART. During this time, the absence of selection pressure from antiviral drugs means that transmitted drug-resistant variants tend to decline to levels undetectable by bulk sequencing. These “minority drug-resistant variants” can be detected using other more sensitive tests but it is not known what proportion of HIV-infected people who have never taken ART carry minority drug-resistant variants (the “prevalence” of these variants). It is also unknown whether the presence of minority drug-resistant variants reduces the success of ART. In this paper, the researchers first report a “cross-sectional” study in North America using a sensitive assay to determine the prevalence of minority drug-resistant viruses among HIV-infected people who had never received ART. They then investigate whether minority drug-resistant variants have any impact on the effectiveness of ART in a “case-control” study.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In their cross-sectional study, the researchers used a highly sensitive test for detecting mutations (called a real-time PCR-based assay) to look for low levels of viruses carrying any of eight major drug-resistance mutations in people with newly diagnosed HIV infection who reported no prior treatment with ART. Seventeen percent of the people who had only wild-type (nonmutated) virus by bulk sequencing (205 participants) were found, in fact, to carry low levels of virus variants with 1–3 drug-resistance mutations; 2% of them carried viruses resistant to two different drug classes (called multi-drug resistance). Among the people with resistance mutations detected by bulk sequencing (303 participants), 10% had at least one additional minority drug-resistant variant, often a viral variant that was resistant to a drug class different from that detected by bulk sequencing. In the case-control study, the researchers used their sensitive assays to measure the levels of viruses containing any of the three most common drug resistance mutations likely to affect viral responses to the antiretroviral drugs efavirenz and lamivudine in 316 people just before they started their first HIV treatment, which included these drugs. Of people for whom ART failed, 7% were infected with minority drug-resistant virus variants at baseline compared with only 0.9% of people for whom ART worked; this difference was statistically significant.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The findings of the cross-sectional study indicate that conventional bulk sequencing fails to detect a large proportion of transmitted HIV drug resistance and suggest that the transmission of drug-resistant variants from infectious ART-experienced people to ART-naïve individuals might not be uncommon. The findings of the case-control study suggest that the minority drug-resistant HIV variants may have clinical consequences. That is, the presence of such variants in individuals who have not previously taken ART may reduce the efficacy of some ART regimens. However, the number of participants meeting the criteria for analysis in the cross-sectional study was limited, and the association between minority resistance and treatment failure may have been influenced by other factors. Taken together, these findings suggest that, to ensure that first-line ART is as effective as possible, greater efforts should be made to prevent HIV transmission, whether from ART-experienced or ART-naive people. However, because data on minority drug-resistant virus are limited, more studies— particularly with recent populations—are needed before testing for these variants can be considered appropriate in the clinical management of newly diagnosed HIV infection.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050158.
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Steven G. Deeks
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including links to fact sheets (in English, French, and Spanish) about antiretrovirals and information on genetic testing for HIV drug resistance
NAM, a UK registered charity, provides information about all aspects of HIVand AIDS, including fact sheets on types of HIV drug, drug resistance, and resistance tests (in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Russian)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on HIV/AIDS and on treatment (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050158
PMCID: PMC2488194  PMID: 18666824
14.  Comparing Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell DNA and Circulating Plasma viral RNA pol Genotypes of Subtype C HIV-1 
Introduction
Drug resistance mutations (DRM) in viral RNA are important in defining to provide effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) in HIV-1 infected patients. Detection of DRM in peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) DNA is another source of information, although the clinical significance of DRMs in proviral DNA is less clear.
Materials and Methods
From 25 patients receiving ART at a center in Zimbabwe, 32 blood samples were collected. Dideoxy-sequencing of gag-pol identified subtype and resistance mutations from plasma viral RNA and proviral DNA. Drug resistance was estimated using the calibrated population resistance tool on www.hivdb.stanford.edu database. Numerical resistance scores were calculated for all antiretroviral drugs and for the subjects’ reported regimen. Phylogenetic analysis as maximum likelihood was performed to determine the evolutionary distance between sequences.
Results
Of the 25 patients, 4 patients (2 of which had given 2 blood samples) were not known to be on ART (NA) and had exclusively wild-type virus, 17 had received Protease inhibitors (PI), 18, non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTI) and 19, two or more nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI). Of the 17 with history of PI, 10 had PI mutations, 5 had minor differences between mutations in RNA and DNA. Eighteen samples had NNRTI mutations, six of which demonstrated some discordance between DNA and RNA mutations. Although NRTI resistance mutations were frequently different between analyses, mutations resulted in very similar estimated phenotypes as measured by resistance scores. The numerical resistance scores from RNA and DNA for PIs differed between 2/10, for NNRTIs between 8/18, and for NRTIs between 17/32 pairs. When calculated resistance scores were collapsed, 3 pairs showed discordance between RNA and DNA for at least one PI, 6 were discordant for at least one NNRTI and 11 for at least one NRTI. Regarding phylogenetic evolutionary analysis, all RNA and DNA sequence pairs clustered closely in a maximum likelihood tree.
Conclusion
PBMC DNA could be useful for testing drug resistance in conjunction with plasma RNA where the results of each yielded complementary information about drug resistance. Identification of DRM, archived in proviral DNA, could be used to provide for sustainable public health surveillance among subtype C infected patients.
PMCID: PMC3457662  PMID: 23019537
AIDS; Peripheral blood mononuclear cell; Viral RNA; pol sequence; HIV-1 subtype C; Antiretroviral therapy
15.  Prevalence of HIV-1 Drug Resistance among Women Screening for HIV Prevention Trials in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (MTN-009) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e59787.
Background
A major concern with using antiretroviral (ARV)-based products for HIV prevention is the potential spread of drug resistance, particularly from individuals who are HIV-infected but unaware of their status. Limited data exist on the prevalence of HIV infection or drug resistance among potential users of ARV-based prevention products.
Methods
A cross-sectional study of reproductive-aged women who presented to screen for an HIV prevention trial was conducted at 7 clinical sites in Durban, South Africa. CD4+T cell counts, HIV-1 RNA levels and population sequencing of the protease and reverse transcriptase genes were performed for all women with 2 positive HIV rapid tests. Resistance mutations were identified using the Stanford Calibrated Population Resistance Tool.
Results
Of the 1073 evaluable women, 400(37%) were confirmed as HIV-infected. Of those, plasma HIV-1 RNA was detectable in 365/400(91%) and undetectable(<40 copies/ml) in 35/400(9%) women. 156 women(39%) were eligible for antiretroviral therapy (CD4+T cell counts<350 cells/mm3) and 50(13%) met criteria for AIDS(CD4<200 cells/mm3). Of 352 plasma samples(>200 copies/ml) analyzed for drug resistance, 26(7.4%) had nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI), non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) or protease inhibitor (PI) drug resistance mutations. Among those with resistance, 18/26 participants(62%) had single-class NNRTI resistance and 5/26(19%) had dual-class NRTI/NNRTI. Major mutations in reverse transcriptase included K65R(n = 1), L74I(n = 1), K103N(n = 19), V106M(n = 4), Y181C(n = 2), M184V(n = 4), and K219E/R(n = 2). Major PI-resistance mutations were rare: M46L(n = 1) and I85V(n = 1). All participants were infected with subtype C virus, except one infected with subtype A.
Conclusions
In women from Durban, South Africa screening for an HIV prevention trial, the HIV prevalence was high (37%) and HIV drug resistance prevalence was above 5%. This study highlights the potential challenges faced when implementing an ARV-based prevention product that overlaps with first-line antiretroviral therapy. Effective screening to exclude HIV infection among women interested in uptake of ARV-based HIV prevention will be essential in limiting the spread of ARV resistance.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059787
PMCID: PMC3621859  PMID: 23585827
16.  Characterization of a Subtype D Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Isolate That Was Obtained from an Untreated Individual and That Is Highly Resistant to Nonnucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors 
Journal of Virology  2004;78(10):5390-5401.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) isolates derived from HIV-infected, treatment-naive Ugandan infants were propagated and tested for sensitivity to antiretroviral (ARV) drugs. Although most subtype A and D isolates displayed inhibition profiles similar to those of subtype B strains, a subtype D isolate identified as D14-UG displayed high-level resistance to nevirapine in peripheral blood mononuclear cell cultures (>2,000-fold) and in MT4 cell cultures (∼800-fold) but weaker resistance to delavirdine (∼13-fold) and efavirenz (∼8-fold) in MT4 cell cultures. To investigate the possible mechanism for this resistance to nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitors (NNRTIs), the RT coding region in pol was sequenced and compared to the consensus RT sequence of NNRTI-resistant and NNRTI-sensitive subtype A, B, and D HIV-1 isolates. D14-UG did not contain the classic amino acid substitutions conferring NNRTI resistance (e.g., Y181C, K103N, and G190A) but did have some putative sites associated with drug resistance, I135L, T139V, and V245T. Wild-type and mutated protease-RT genes from D14-UG and an NNRTI-sensitive subtype D isolate from Uganda (D13-UG) were cloned into pNL4-3 to produce recombinant viruses and to determine the effects of the mutations on susceptibility to ARV drugs, specifically, NNRTIs. The results showed that I135L and/or V245T mutations can confer high-level resistance to nevirapine and delavirdine as well as low level cross-resistance to efavirenz. Finally, ex vivo fitness analyses suggested that NNRTI-resistant sites 135L and 245T in wild-type isolate D14-UG may reduce RT fitness but do not have an impact on the fitness of the primary HIV-1 isolate.
doi:10.1128/JVI.78.10.5390-5401.2004
PMCID: PMC400369  PMID: 15113918
17.  Resistance-Associated Mutations to Etravirine (TMC-125) in Antiretroviral-Naïve Patients Infected with Non-B HIV-1 Subtypes▿  
Susceptibility to etravirine (ETR), an expanded-spectrum nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI), is dependent on the type and number of NNRTI resistance-associated mutations (RAMs). Studies have shown that some HIV-1 subtypes may have natural polymorphisms described as ETR RAMs. This study addresses the prevalence of ETR RAMs in treatment-naïve patients infected with HIV-1 non-B subtypes and its potential impact on ETR susceptibility. The prevalence of ETR RAMs in 726 antiretroviral-naïve patients infected with non-B HIV-1 subtypes was studied. ETR genotypic resistance was interpreted according to Agence Nationale de Recherches sur le SIDA and Stanford algorithms. NNRTI phenotypic susceptibilities of samples with at least one ETR RAM were measured. Overall, 75 (10.3%) of 726 sequences harbored at least one ETR RAM: sequences from 72 patients (10%) each had one ETR RAM, and sequences from 3 patients (0.4%) each had two ETR RAMs (V90I and Y181C in one case and V90I and A98G in two cases). None of the viruses had three or more ETR RAMs, and none were consequently classified as resistant to ETR. All sequences with two ETR RAMs belonged to subtype CRF02_AG. The presence of one ETR RAM was statistically more frequent in subtype CRF02_AG than in other non-B subtypes (P = 0.004). Three new mutation profiles (E138A and V179I, Y181C and H221Y, and V90I and Y181C) showing decreased ETR phenotypic susceptibility were identified. In conclusion, although the prevalence of ETR RAMs in treatment-naïve patients infected with non-B HIV-1 subtypes was 10%, in most cases this had no significant impact on ETR susceptibility. However, the transmission of drug-resistant viruses with Y181C in a non-B genetic background has a potential for impact on ETR susceptibility.
doi:10.1128/AAC.01335-09
PMCID: PMC2812140  PMID: 20008779
18.  Development, Validation and Clinical Evaluation of a Low Cost In-House HIV-1 Drug Resistance Genotyping Assay for Indian Patients 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e105790.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 (HIV-1) drug resistance genotyping assay is a part of clinical management of HIV-1 positive individuals under treatment with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Routine monitoring of drug resistance mutations in resource limited settings like India is not possible due to high cost of commercial drug resistance assays. In this study we developed an in-house, cost effective HIV-1 drug resistance genotyping assay for Indian patients and validated it against the US-FDA-approved ViroSeq HIV-1 drug resistance testing system. A reference panel of 20 clinical samples was used to develop and validate the assay against ViroSeq HIV-1 drug resistance testing system which was subsequently used to genotype a clinical panel of 225 samples. The Stanford HIV database was used to identify drug resistant mutations. The analytical sensitivity of the assay was 1000 HIV-1 RNA copies/ml of plasma sample while precision and reproducibility was 99.68±0.16% and 99.76±0.18% respectively. One hundred and one drug resistant mutations were detected by the in-house assay compared to 104 by ViroSeq system in the reference panel. The assay had 91.55% success rate in genotyping the clinical panel samples and was able to detect drug resistant mutations related to nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI), non-nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) as well as protease inhibitor (PI) classes of antiretroviral drugs. It was found to be around 71.9% more cost effective compared to ViroSeq genotyping system. This evaluation of the assay on the clinical panel demonstrates its potential for monitoring clinical HIV-1 drug resistance mutations and population-based surveillance in resource limited settings like India.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0105790
PMCID: PMC4144911  PMID: 25157501
19.  Transmitted Antiretroviral Drug Resistance in Newly HIV-Infected and Untreated Patients in Ségou and Bamako, Mali 
Abstract
The WHO recommends regular surveillance for transmitted antiretroviral drug-resistant viruses in HIV antiretroviral treatment (ART)-naive patients in resource-limited settings. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of mutations associated with resistance in ART-naive patients newly diagnosed with HIV in Bamako and Ségou in Mali. HIV-positive patients who never received ART were recruited in Bamako and Ségou, Mali. The reverse transcriptase (RT) and protease (PR) genes of these patients were sequenced by the “ViroSeq” method. Analysis and interpretation of the resistance were made according to the WHO 2009 list of drug resistance mutations. In all, 51/54 (94.4%) sample patients were sequenced. The median age (IQR) of our patients was 24 (22–27) years and the median CD4 count was 380 (340–456) cells/mm3. The predominant subtype was recombinant HIV-1 CRF02_AG (66.7%) followed by CRF06_cpx (12%) and CRF09_cpx (4%). Four patients had mutations associated with resistance, giving an overall prevalence of resistance estimated at 7.9%. There were two (4%) patients with nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) mutations (one M184V and one T215Y), two (4%) with non-NRTI mutations (two K103N), and one (2%) with a protease inhibitor mutation (one I54V). The prevalence of primary resistance in newly infected patients in Mali is moderate (7.9%). This indicates that the standard NNRTI-based first-line regimen used in Mali is suboptimal for some patients. This study should be done regularly to inform clinical practice.
doi:10.1089/aid.2012.0118
PMCID: PMC3537298  PMID: 22823755
20.  One-, Two-, and Three-Class Resistance among HIV-Infected Patients on Antiretroviral Therapy in Private Care Clinics: Mumbai, India 
Abstract
HIV-infected patients receiving antiretroviral (ARV) therapy (ART) in India are not all adequately virally suppressed. We analyzed ARV drug resistance in adults receiving ART in three private clinics in Mumbai, India. HIV viral load was measured in 200 patients with the Roche AMPLICOR HIV-1 Monitor Test, v1.5. HIV genotyping was performed with the ViroSeq HIV-1 Genotyping System for 61 participants who had HIV-1 RNA >1000 copies/ml. Genotyping results were obtained for 51 samples. The participants with resistance results were on ART for a median of 24 months and were on their current regimen for a median of 12 months (median CD4 cell count: 217 cells/mm3; median HIV viral load: 28,200 copies/ml). ARV regimens included nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)-based regimens (n = 27), dual nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs, n = 19), protease inhibitor (PI)-based regimens (n = 3), and other regimens (n = 2). Twenty-six participants (51.0%) were on their first ARV regimen and 24 (47%) reported >95% adherence. Forty-nine participants (96.1%) had resistance to at least one ARV drug; 47 (92.2%) had NRTI resistance, 32 (62.7%) had NNRTI resistance, and four (7.8%) had PI resistance. Thirty (58.8%) had two-class resistance and three (5.9%) had three-class resistance. Four (8%) had three or more resistance mutations associated with etravirine resistance and two (4%) had two mutations associated with reduced darunavir susceptibility. Almost all patients with HIV-1 RNA >1000 copies/ml had NRTI resistance and nearly two-thirds had NNRTI resistance; PI resistance was uncommon. Nearly 60% and 6% had two- and three-class resistance, respectively. This emphasizes the need for greater viral load and resistance monitoring, use of optimal ART combinations, and increased availability of second- and third-line agents for patients with ARV resistance.
doi:10.1089/aid.2009.0102
PMCID: PMC2858895  PMID: 20063995
21.  Analysis of Drug Resistance in Children Receiving Antiretroviral Therapy for Treatment of HIV-1 Infection in Uganda 
Abstract
We analyzed drug resistance in HIV-infected Ugandan children who received antiretroviral therapy in a prospective, observational study (2004–2006); some children had prior single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP) exposure. Children received stavudine (d4T), lamivudine (3TC), and nevirapine (NVP); treatment was continued if they were clinically and immunologically stable. Samples with >1,000 copies/ml HIV RNA were analyzed by using the ViroSeq HIV Genotyping System (ViroSeq). Subtype A and D pretreatment samples also were analyzed with the LigAmp assay (for K103N, Y181C, and G190A). ViroSeq results were obtained for 74 pretreatment samples (35 from sdNVP-exposed children (median age, 19 months) and 39 from sdNVP-unexposed children (median age, 84 months). This included 39 subtype A, 22 subtype D, 1 subtype C, and 12 inter-subtype recombinant samples. One sample had nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) resistance, one had nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) resistance, and three had protease inhibitor (PI) resistance. Y181C was detected by using LigAmp in five pretreatment samples [four (14.8%) of 37 samples from sdNVP-exposed children, one (4.2%) of 24 samples from children without prior sdNVP exposure; p = 0.35]. Among children who were not virally suppressed at 48 weeks of treatment, all 12 tested had NNRTI resistance, as well as resistance to 3TC and emtricitibine (FTC); three had resistance to other NRTIs. Seven of those children had a ViroSeq result at 96 weeks of treatment; four of the seven acquired resistance to additional NRTIs by 96 weeks. In Uganda, clinically and immunologically stable children receiving nonsuppressive antiretroviral treatment regimens are at risk for development of drug resistance.
doi:10.1089/aid.2009.0164
PMCID: PMC2875950  PMID: 20455758
22.  Nevirapine- Versus Lopinavir/Ritonavir-Based Initial Therapy for HIV-1 Infection among Women in Africa: A Randomized Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(6):e1001236.
In a randomized control trial, Shahin Lockman and colleagues compare nevirapine-based therapy with lopinavir/ritonavir-based therapy for HIV-infected women without previous exposure to antiretroviral treatment.
Background
Nevirapine (NVP) is widely used in antiretroviral treatment (ART) of HIV-1 globally. The primary objective of the AA5208/OCTANE trial was to compare the efficacy of NVP-based versus lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r)-based initial ART.
Methods and Findings
In seven African countries (Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe), 500 antiretroviral-naïve HIV-infected women with CD4<200 cells/mm3 were enrolled into a two-arm randomized trial to initiate open-label ART with tenofovir (TDF)/emtricitabine (FTC) once/day plus either NVP (n = 249) or LPV/r (n = 251) twice/day, and followed for ≥48 weeks. The primary endpoint was time from randomization to death or confirmed virologic failure ([VF]) (plasma HIV RNA<1 log10 below baseline 12 weeks after treatment initiation, or ≥400 copies/ml at or after 24 weeks), with comparison between treatments based on hazard ratios (HRs) in intention-to-treat analysis. Equivalence of randomized treatments was defined as finding the 95% CI for HR for virological failure or death in the range 0.5 to 2.0. Baseline characteristics were (median): age = 34 years, CD4 = 121 cells/mm3, HIV RNA = 5.2 log10copies/ml. Median follow-up = 118 weeks; 29 (6%) women were lost to follow-up. 42 women (37 VFs, five deaths; 17%) in the NVP and 50 (43 VFs, seven deaths; 20%) in the LPV/r arm reached the primary endpoint (HR 0.85, 95% CI 0.56–1.29). During initial assigned treatment, 14% and 16% of women receiving NVP and LPV/r experienced grade 3/4 signs/symptoms and 26% and 22% experienced grade 3/4 laboratory abnormalities. However, 35 (14%) women discontinued NVP because of adverse events, most in the first 8 weeks, versus none for LPV/r (p<0.001). VF, death, or permanent treatment discontinuation occurred in 80 (32%) of NVP and 54 (22%) of LPV/r arms (HR = 1.7, 95% CI 1.2–2.4), with the difference primarily due to more treatment discontinuation in the NVP arm. 13 (45%) of 29 women tested in the NVP versus six (15%) of 40 in the LPV/r arm had any drug resistance mutation at time of VF.
Conclusions
Initial ART with NVP+TDF/FTC demonstrated equivalent virologic efficacy but higher rates of treatment discontinuation and new drug resistance compared with LPV/r+TDF/FTC in antiretroviral-naïve women with CD4<200 cells/mm3.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00089505
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
About 34 million people (mostly living in low- or middle-income countries) are currently infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV destroys CD4 lymphocytes and other immune cells, leaving infected individuals susceptible to other infections. Early in the AIDS epidemic, most HIV-infected people died within 10 years of infection. Then, in 1996, antiretroviral therapy (ART)—cocktails of drugs that attack different parts of HIV—became available. For people living in affluent countries, HIV/AIDS became a chronic condition. But, because ART was expensive, for people living in developing countries, HIV/AIDS remained a fatal illness. In 2006, the international community set a target of achieving universal access to ART by 2010 and, although this target has not been reached, by the end of 2010, 6.6 million of the estimated 15 million people in need of ART in developing countries were receiving one of the ART regimens recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its 2010 guidelines.
Why Was This Study Done?
A widely used combination for the initial treatment of HIV-infected people (particularly women) in resource-limited settings is tenofovir and emtricitabine (both nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors; reverse transcriptase is essential for HIV replication) and nevirapine (NVP, a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor). However, little is known about the efficacy of this NVP-based ART combination. Moreover, its efficacy and toxicity has not been compared with regimens containing lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r). LPV/r, which inhibits the viral protease that is essential for HIV replication, is available in resource-limited settings but is usually reserved for second-line treatment. LPV/r-based ART is more expensive than NVP-based ART but if it were more effective or better tolerated than NVP-based ART, then first-line treatment with LPV/r-based ART might be cost-effective in resource-limited settings. Conversely, evidence of the clinical equivalence of NVP-based and LPV/r-based ART would provide support for NVP-based ART as an initial therapy. In this randomized equivalence trial, the researchers compare the efficacy and toxicity of NVP-based and LVP/r-based initial therapy for HIV infection among antiretroviral-naïve African women. In a randomized trial, patients are assigned different treatments by the play of chance and followed to compare the effects of these treatments; an equivalence trial asks whether the effects of two treatments are statistically equivalent.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers followed 500 antiretroviral-naïve HIV-infected women with a low CD4 cell count living in seven African countries, half of whom received NVP-based ART and half of whom received LPV/r-based ART, for an average of 118 weeks and recorded the time to virologic failure (the presence of virus in the blood above pre-specified levels) or death among the participants. Forty-two women in the NVP arm reached this primary endpoint (37 virologic failures and five deaths) compared to 50 women in the LPV/r arm (43 virologic failures and seven deaths), a result that indicates equivalent virologic efficacy according to preset statistical criteria. During the initial assigned treatment, similar proportions of women in both treatment arms developed serious drug-related signs and symptoms and laboratory abnormalities. However, whereas 14% of the women in the NVP arm discontinued treatment because of adverse effects, none of the women in the LPV/r arm discontinued treatment. Finally, nearly half of the women tested in the NVP arm but only 15% of the women tested in the LVP/r arm had developed any drug resistance at the time of virologic failure.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that, among HIV-infected, treatment-naïve African women, initial NVP-based ART is as effective as LPV/r-based ART in terms of virologic failure and death although more women in the NVP arm discontinued treatment or developed new drug resistance than in the LPV/r arm. Several limitations of this study may affect the accuracy of these findings. In particular, some of the study participants may have been exposed to single-dose NVP during childbirth to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV; in a parallel randomized trial, the researchers found that LPV/r-based ART was superior to NVP-based ART among women with prior exposure to single-dose NVP. Moreover, the duration of the current study means the long-term effects of the two treatments cannot be compared. Nevertheless, these findings support the WHO recommendation of NVP-based ART with careful early toxicity monitoring as an initial affordable and effective HIV treatment regiment in resource-limited settings, until access to better-tolerated and more potent regimens is possible.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001236.
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on all aspects of HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment (in several languages)
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including detailed information on HIV treatment and care (in English and Spanish)
WHO provides information about universal access to AIDS treatment (in English, French and Spanish); its 2010 ART guidelines can be downloaded
More information about this trial, the OCTANE trial, is available
MedlinePlus provides detailed information about nevirapine and lopinavir/ritinovir (in English and Spanish)
Patient stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through Avert; the nonprofit website Healthtalkonline also provides personal stories about living with HIV, including stories about taking anti-HIV drugs and the challenges of anti-HIV drugs
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001236
PMCID: PMC3373629  PMID: 22719231
23.  Rilpivirine versus etravirine validity in NNRTI-based treatment failure in Thailand 
Journal of the International AIDS Society  2014;17(4Suppl 3):19740.
Introduction
Etravirine (ETR) and rilpivirine (RPV) are the second-generation non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTI) for treatment of HIV-1 infection. Etravirine is recommended for patients with virologic failure from first generation NNRTI-based regimen [1]. RPV has profile with similar properties to ETR but this agent is approved for treatment-naïve patients [2]. In Thailand, ETR is approximately 45 times more expensive than RPV. We aimed to study the patterns of genotypic resistance and possibility of using RPV in patients with virologic failure from two common NNRTI-based regimens: efavirenz (EFV)- or nevirapine (NVP)-based regimen.
Materials and Methods
Data of clinical samples with confirmed virologic failure during 2003–2010 were reviewed. We selected the samples from patients who failed EFV- or NVP-based regimen. Resistance-associated mutations (RAMs) were determined by IAS-USA Drug Resistance Mutations. DUET, Monogram scoring system and Stanford Genotypic Resistance Interpretation were applied to determine the susceptibility of ETR and RPV.
Results
A total of 2086 samples were analyzed. Samples from 1482 patients with virologic failure from NVP-based regimen treatment failure (NVP group) and 604 patients with virologic failure from EFV-based regimen treatment failure (EFV group) were included. 95% of samples were HIV-1 CRF01_AE subtype. Approximately 80% of samples in each group had one to three NNRTI-RAMs and 20% had four to seven NNRTI-RAMs. 181C mutation was the most common NVP-associated RAM (54.3% vs 14.7%, p<0.01). 103N mutation was the most common EFV-associated RAM (56.5% vs 19.1%, p<0.01). The calculated scores from all three scoring systems were concordant. In NVP group, 165 (11.1%) and 161 (10.9%) patients were susceptible to ETR and RPV, respectively (p=0.81). In EFV group, 195 (32.2%) and 191 (31.6%) patients were susceptible to ETR and RPV, respectively (p=0.81). The proportions of viruses that remained susceptible to ETR and RPV in EFV group were significantly higher than NPV group (ETR susceptibility 32.2% vs 11.1%, p<0.01, RPV susceptibility 31.6% vs 10.9%, p<0.01), respectively.
Conclusions
RPV might be a cost saving and reasonable second line NNRTI for patients who failed EFV- or NVP-containing regimens, especially in resource-limited setting because these two agents have comparable susceptibility identified by genotyping. From our study, approximately 30% of patients who failed EFV-based regimens had viruses that remained susceptible to RPV.
doi:10.7448/IAS.17.4.19740
PMCID: PMC4225409  PMID: 25397485
24.  Amino Acid Substitutions at Position 190 of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Reverse Transcriptase Increase Susceptibility to Delavirdine and Impair Virus Replication 
Journal of Virology  2003;77(2):1512-1523.
Suboptimal treatment of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection with nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTI) often results in the rapid selection of drug-resistant virus. Several amino acid substitutions at position 190 of reverse transcriptase (RT) have been associated with reduced susceptibility to the NNRTI, especially nevirapine (NVP) and efavirenz (EFV). In the present study, the effects of various 190 substitutions observed in viruses obtained from NNRTI-experienced patients were characterized with patient-derived HIV isolates and confirmed with a panel of isogenic viruses. Compared to wild-type HIV, which has a glycine at position 190 (G190), viruses with 190 substitutions (A, C, Q, S, V, E, or T, collectively referred to as G190X substitutions) were markedly less susceptible to NVP and EFV. In contrast, delavirdine (DLV) susceptibility of these G190X viruses increased from 3 to 300-fold (hypersusceptible) or was only slightly decreased. The replication capacity of viruses with certain 190 substitutions (C, Q, V, T, and E) was severely impaired and was correlated with reduced virion-associated RT activity and incomplete protease (PR) processing of the viral p55gag polyprotein. These defects were the result of inadequate p160gagpol incorporation into virions. Compensatory mutations within RT and PR improved replication capacity, p55gag processing, and RT activity, presumably through increased incorporation of p160gagpol into virions. We observe an inverse relationship between the degree of NVP and EFV resistance and the impairment of viral replication in viruses with substitutions at 190 in RT. These observations may have important implications for the future design and development of antiretroviral drugs that restrict the outgrowth of resistant variants with high replication capacity.
doi:10.1128/JVI.77.2.1512-1523.2003
PMCID: PMC140843  PMID: 12502865
25.  Prevalence of reverse transcriptase and protease mutations associated with antiretroviral drug resistance among drug-naïve HIV-1 infected pregnant women in Kagera and Kilimanjaro regions, Tanzania 
Background
Access to antiretroviral drugs for HIV-1 infection has increased in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) during the past few years. Mutations in the HIV-1 genome are often associated with treatment failure as indicated by viral replication and elevated levels of virus in the blood. Mutations conferring resistance to antiretroviral drugs are based on comparing gene sequences with corresponding consensus sequences of HIV-1 subtype B that represents only 10% of the AIDS pandemic. The HIV pandemic in SSA is characterized by high viral genetic diversity. Before antiretroviral drugs become more widely available, it is important to characterize baseline naturally occurring genetic mutations and polymorphisms associated with antiretroviral drug resistance among circulating HIV-1 subtypes.
Methods
The prevalence of mutations associated with antiretroviral drug resistance in protease (PR) and reverse transcriptase (RT) regions among antiretroviral treatment-naïve HIV-1 infected pregnant women was investigated in Bukoba (Kagera) and Moshi (Kilimanjaro) municipalities, Tanzania, between September and December 2005. The HIV-1 pol gene was amplified using primers recognizing conserved viral sequences and sequenced employing BigDye chemistry from 100 HIV-1 seropositive treatment-naïve pregnant women and 61 HIV-1 seropositive women who had received a single dose of Nevirapine (sdNVP). Positions 1–350 of the RT and 1–99 of the PR genes were analyzed for mutations based on the Stanford University HIV Drug Resistance Database.
Results
HIV-1 subtypes A, C, D, CRF10_CD and Unique Recombinant Forms (URF) were detected. Primary mutations associated with NRTI and NNRTI resistance were detected among 3% and 4% of treatment-naïve strains, respectively. Primary mutations associated with NRTI and NNRTI resistance were detected in 1.6% and 11.5% of women who had received sdNVP, respectively. None of the primary mutations associated with PI resistance was found. Polymorphisms detected in RT and PR sequences were mainly mutations that are found in the consensus sequences of non-B subtypes
Conclusion
Based on the WHO HIV Drug Resistance Research Network Threshold of less than 5%, the baseline prevalence of primary mutations among treatment-naïve HIV-1 infected pregnant women in Kagera and Kilimanjaro regions was low. The significance of HIV-1 subtype B polymorphic positions with respect to antiretroviral resistance identified among the prevalent HIV-1 subtypes is unknown. More studies addressing the correlation between polymorphic mutations, antiretroviral resistance and clinical outcome are warranted in regions where non-B subtypes are prevalent.
doi:10.1186/1742-6405-5-13
PMCID: PMC2443165  PMID: 18570675

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