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1.  Short Communication: In Utero HIV Infection Is Associated with an Increased Risk of Nevirapine Resistance in Ugandan Infants Who Were Exposed to Perinatal Single Dose Nevirapine 
Use of single dose nevirapine (sdNVP) to prevent HIV mother-to-child transmission is associated with the emergence of NVP resistance in many infants who are HIV infected despite prophylaxis. We combined results from four clinical trials to analyze predictors of NVP resistance in sdNVP-exposed Ugandan infants. Samples were tested with the ViroSeq HIV Genotyping System and a sensitive point mutation assay (LigAmp, for detection of K103N, Y181C, and G190A). NVP resistance was detected at 6–8 weeks in 36 (45.0%) of 80 infants using ViroSeq and 33 (45.8%) of 72 infants using LigAmp. NVP resistance was more frequent among infants who were infected in utero than among infants who were diagnosed with HIV infection after birth by 6–8 weeks of age. Detection of NVP resistance at 6–8 weeks was not associated with HIV subtype (A vs. D), pre-NVP maternal viral load or CD4 cell count, infant viral load at 6–8 weeks, or infant sex. NVP resistance was still detected in some infants 6–12 months after sdNVP exposure. In this study, in utero HIV infection was the only factor associated with detection of NVP resistance in infants 6–8 weeks after sdNVP exposure.
PMCID: PMC2752753  PMID: 19552593
2.  Short Communication: In Utero HIV Infection Is Associated with an Increased Risk of Nevirapine Resistance in Ugandan Infants Who Were Exposed to Perinatal Single Dose Nevirapine 
Use of single dose nevirapine (sdNVP) to prevent HIV mother-to-child transmission is associated with the emergence of NVP resistance in many infants who are HIV infected despite prophylaxis. We combined results from four clinical trials to analyze predictors of NVP resistance in sdNVP-exposed Ugandan infants. Samples were tested with the ViroSeq HIV Genotyping System and a sensitive point mutation assay (LigAmp, for detection of K103N, Y181C, and G190A). NVP resistance was detected at 6–8 weeks in 36 (45.0%) of 80 infants using ViroSeq and 33 (45.8%) of 72 infants using LigAmp. NVP resistance was more frequent among infants who were infected in utero than among infants who were diagnosed with HIV infection after birth by 6–8 weeks of age. Detection of NVP resistance at 6–8 weeks was not associated with HIV subtype (A vs. D), pre-NVP maternal viral load or CD4 cell count, infant viral load at 6–8 weeks, or infant sex. NVP resistance was still detected in some infants 6–12 months after sdNVP exposure. In this study, in utero HIV infection was the only factor associated with detection of NVP resistance in infants 6–8 weeks after sdNVP exposure.
PMCID: PMC2752753  PMID: 19552593
3.  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.
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.
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 NCT 00144183
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
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
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
PMCID: PMC2760761  PMID: 19859531
4.  Detection of HIV-1 Drug Resistance in Women Following Administration of a Single Dose of Nevirapine: Comparison of Plasma RNA to Cellular DNA by Consensus Sequencing and by Oligonucleotide Ligation Assay▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(5):1555-1561.
A single dose of nevirapine (sdNVP) to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1 increases the risk of failure of subsequent NVP-containing antiretroviral therapy (ART), especially when initiated within 6 months of sdNVP administration, emphasizing the importance of understanding the decay of nevirapine-resistant mutants. Nevirapine-resistant HIV-1 genotypes (with the mutations K103N, Y181C, and/or G190A) from 21 women were evaluated 10 days and 6 weeks after sdNVP administration and at the initiation of ART. Resistance was assayed by consensus sequencing and by a more sensitive assay (oligonucleotide ligation assay [OLA]) using plasma-derived HIV-1 RNA and cell-associated HIV-1 DNA. OLA detected nevirapine resistance in more specimens than consensus sequencing did (63% versus 33%, P < 0.01). When resistance was detected only by OLA (n = 45), the median mutant concentration was 18%, compared to 61% when detected by both sequencing and OLA (n = 51) (P < 0.0001). The proportion of women whose nevirapine resistance was detected by OLA 10 days after sdNVP administration was higher when we tested their HIV-1 RNA (95%) than when we tested their HIV-1 DNA (88%), whereas at 6 weeks after sdNVP therapy, the proportion was greater with DNA (85%) than with RNA (67%) and remained higher with DNA (33%) than with RNA (11%) at the initiation of antiretroviral treatment (median, 45 weeks after sdNVP therapy). Fourteen women started NVP-ART more than 6 months after sdNVP therapy; resistance was detected by OLA in 14% of the women but only in their DNA. HIV-1 resistance to NVP following sdNVP therapy persists longer in cellular DNA than in plasma RNA, as determined by a sensitive assay using sufficient copies of virus, suggesting that DNA may be superior to RNA for detecting resistance at the initiation of ART.
PMCID: PMC2863880  PMID: 20181911
5.  Analysis of Drug Resistance in Children Receiving Antiretroviral Therapy for Treatment of HIV-1 Infection in Uganda 
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.
PMCID: PMC2875950  PMID: 20455758
6.  Impact of Nevirapine (NVP) Plasma Concentration on Selection of Resistant Virus in Mothers Who Received Single-Dose NVP To Prevent Perinatal Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Transmission and Persistence of Resistant Virus in Their Infected Children▿  
Nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor resistance following the use of single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP) for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) remains a concern. In the ANRS-1201/1202 Ditrame study, conducted in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, a short-course regimen of zidovudine was associated with sdNVP for PMTCT. In this study, we estimate the frequency of NVP resistance and its relationship with NVP concentration in mothers. Genotypic resistance analysis was performed on mothers' plasma samples at week 4 postpartum (PP) and on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) DNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) when an NVP resistance mutation was detected. The same tests were performed for the infected children at week 4, month 3, and month 12. Mothers' NVP plasma concentrations were measured at 48 h PP. Twenty-one (33%) of the 63 women selected had NVP-resistant (NVP-R) virus at week 4 PP. The median plasma NVP concentration was 598 ng/ml for the mothers without NVP-R virus compared to 851 ng/ml for the mothers harboring NVP-R virus (P = 0.014). NVP-R mutations were detected in the HIV DNA of 15/20 women. Plasma NVP-R mutations were detectable in 6 of 26 infected children at week 4. All 6 children had detectable NVP-R mutations in HIV DNA of PBMC. Blood samples taken at month 3 (1 child) and month 12 (1 child) revealed the persistence of NVP-R mutations in plasma and cells. Emergence of NVP-R virus in mothers is strongly correlated with a high level of plasma NVP concentration, owing to a prolonged postpartum period of viral replication under NVP selective pressure. The follow-up of the cohort demonstrates the prolonged archive of resistant virus.
PMCID: PMC1803117  PMID: 17178792
7.  Detection of HIV-1 DNA resistance mutations by a sensitive assay at initiation of antiretroviral therapy is associated with virologic failure 
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has become more available throughout the developing world during the past five years. The World Health Organization recommends nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor-based regimens as initial ART. However, their efficacy may be compromised by resistance mutations selected by single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP) used to prevent mother-to-child-transmission of HIV-1 (PMTCT). There is no simple and efficient method to detect such mutations at initiation of ART.
181 women participating in a PMTCT clinical trial who started NVP-ART after they had received sdNVP or placebo were tested for nevirapine-resistance point-mutations (K103N, Y181C, and G190A) using 100 copies of HIV-1 DNA with a sensitive oligonucleotide ligation assay (OLA) able to detect mutants at low concentrations (≥5% of the viral population). Virologic failure was defined as plasma HIV-1 RNA confirmed >50 copies/mL between 6–18 months of NVP-ART.
At initiation of NVP-ART, resistance mutations were identified in 26% of 148 participants given sdNVP (K103N-13%, Y181C-5%, G190A-19%; ≥2 mutations-10%) at a median 9.3 months after sdNVP. The risk of virologic failure was .62 (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.46–0.77) in women with ≥1 resistance mutation, compared to 0.25 (95% CI, 0.17–0.35) in those without detectable resistance mutations (P<.0001). Failure was independently associated with resistance, an interval of <6 months between sdNVP and NVP-ART initiation, and a viral load above the median at NVP-ART initiation.
Access to simple and inexpensive assays to detect low-concentrations of NVP-resistant HIV-1 DNA prior to the initiation of ART could help improve the outcome of first-line antiretroviral therapy.
PMCID: PMC2856716  PMID: 20377404
HIV-1; resistance mutations; nevirapine; HAART; oligonucleotide ligation assay; developing countries
8.  Analysis of nevirapine (NVP) resistance in Ugandan infants who were HIV-infected despite receiving single dose (SD) nevirapine (NVP) vs. SD NVP plus daily NVP up to 6-weeks of age to prevent HIV vertical transmission 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2008;198(7):1075-1082.
Single dose (SD) nevirapine (NVP) at birth plus NVP to the infant up to 6 weeks of age is superior to SD NVP alone for prevention of HIV vertical transmission through breastfeeding. We analyzed NVP resistance in HIV-infected Ugandan infants who received either SD NVP or extended NVP prophylaxis.
We tested plasma HIV using a genotyping assay (ViroSeq), a phenotypic resistance assay (PhenoSense), and sensitive point mutation assay (LigAmp, for K103N, Y181C, G190A).
At 6 weeks, NVP resistance was detected by ViroSeq in a higher proportion of infants in the extended NVP arm than in the SD NVP arm (21/25=84% vs. 12/24=50%, p=0.01). Similar results were obtained with LigAmp and PhenoSense. Infants who were HIV-infected at birth had high rates of resistance in both study arms. In contrast, infants who were HIV-infected after birth were more likely to have resistance detected at 6 weeks in the extended NVP arm. Use of extended NVP prophylaxis was also associated with detection of NVP resistance by ViroSeq at 6 months (7/7=100% extended NVP arm vs. 1/6=16.7% SD NVP arm, p=0.005).
Use of extended NVP prophylaxis was associated with increased selection and persistence of NVP resistance in HIV-infected Ugandan infants.
PMCID: PMC2587235  PMID: 18684096
HIV-1; infant; mother-to-child transmission; nevirapine; resistance
9.  Temporal Reduction of HIV Type 1 Viral Load in Breast Milk by Single-Dose Nevirapine during Prevention of MTCT 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2009;25(12):1261-1264.
Short-course zidovudine (ZDV) with or without a single dose of nevirapine (sdNVP) is widely used to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT). However, more data on viral load in breast milk following pMTCT regimens are needed. In a randomized PMTCT study in Botswana, in which half of the women received sdNVP in labor, stored samples from mothers assigned to breastfeed were analyzed for HIV-1 RNA in breast milk supernatant. A total of 527 samples from 282 women, collected at delivery, 2 weeks, 2 months, and 5 months postpartum were available for testing. Cell-free breast milk HIV-1 RNA was detectable (>40 copies/ml) in 44.8% (236/527) of samples analyzed. Women randomized to sdNVP + ZDV were more likely to have undetectable breast milk viral loads at 2 weeks postpartum compared with those who received ZDV alone (67.8% vs. 38.5%, p = 0.002). By 2 months postpartum the difference between study arms disappeared, and 43.8% of women who received sdNVP + ZDV had undetectable HIV-1 RNA compared to 53.8% of the ZDV alone group (p = 0.19) and 60.5% vs. 64.5%, respectively, at month 5 (p = 0.61.) The addition of sdNVP to antenatal short-course AZT resulted in significantly reduced breast milk viral loads at 2 weeks postpartum suggesting a reduced risk of MTCT during the early postpartum period. However, viral loads in both study arms were comparable at 2 and 5 months postpartum, suggesting that the receipt of sdNVP in labor may defer rather than blunt the postpartum viral load rebound seen in breast milk after the discontinuation of ZDV.
PMCID: PMC2828251  PMID: 20001515
10.  Addition of extended zidovudine to extended nevirapine prophylaxis reduces nevirapine resistance in infants who were HIV infected in utero 
AIDS (London, England)  2010;24(3):381-386.
In the PEPI-Malawi trial, most women received single dose nevirapine (sdNVP) at delivery, and infants in the extended study arms received sdNVP plus 1 week of daily zidovudine (ZDV), followed by either extended daily NVP or extended daily NVP+ZDV up to 14 weeks of age. While extended NVP prophylaxis reduces the risk of postnatal HIV transmission, it may increase the risk of NVP resistance among infants who are HIV-infected despite prophylaxis.
We analyzed 88 infants in the PEPI- Malawi trial with in utero HIV infection who received prophylaxis for a median of 6 weeks prior to HIV diagnosis. HIV genotyping was performed using the ViroSeq HIV Genotyping System.
At 14 weeks of age, the proportion of infants with NVP resistance was lower in the extended NVP+ZDV arm than in the extended NVP arm (28/45=62.2% vs. 37/43=86.0%, p=0.015). None of the infants had ZDV resistance. Addition of extended ZDV to extended NVP was associated with reduced risk of NVP resistance at 14 weeks if prophylaxis was stopped by 6 weeks (54.5% vs. 85.7%, p=0.007), but not if prophylaxis was continued beyond 6 weeks (83.3% vs. 87.5%, p=1.00).
Addition of extended ZDV to extended NVP prophylaxis significantly reduced the risk of NVP resistance at 14 weeks in infants with in utero HIV infection, provided that HIV infection was diagnosed and the prophylaxis was stopped by 6 weeks of age.
PMCID: PMC3063063  PMID: 19996936
HIV-1; resistance; infants; Malawi; nevirapine
11.  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.
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.
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 NCT00089505
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
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
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
PMCID: PMC3373629  PMID: 22719231
12.  HIV-1 persists in breast milk cells despite antiretroviral treatment to prevent mother-to-child transmission 
AIDS (London, England)  2008;22(12):1475-1485.
The effects of short-course antiretrovirals given to reduce mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) on temporal patterns of cell-associated HIV-1 RNA and DNA in breast milk are not well defined.
Women in Kenya received short-course zidovudine (ZDV), single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP), combination ZDV/sdNVP or short-course highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Breast milk samples were collected two to three times weekly for 4–6 weeks. HIV-1 DNA was quantified by real-time PCR. Cell-free and cell-associated RNA levels were quantified by the Gen-Probe HIV-1 viral load assay.
Cell-free HIV-1 RNA levels in breast milk were significantly suppressed by sdNVP, ZDV/sdNVP or HAART therapy compared with ZDV between day 3 and week 4 postpartum (P ≤ 0.03). Breast milk HIV-1 DNA levels (infected cell levels) were not significantly different between treatment arms at any timepoint during the 4–6-week follow-up. At 3 weeks postpartum, when the difference in cell-free RNA levels was the greatest comparing HAART directly with ZDV (P = 0.0001), median log10 HIV-1 DNA copies per 1 × 106 cells were 2.78, 2.54, 2.69, and 2.31 in the ZDV, sdNVP, ZDV/sdNVP and HAART arms, respectively (P = 0.23). Cell-associated HIV-1 RNA levels were modestly suppressed in HAART versus ZDV/sdNVP during week 3 (3.37 versus 4.02, P = 0.04), as well as over time according to a linear mixed-effects model.
Cell-free and, to a lesser extent, cell-associated HIV-1 RNA levels in breast milk were suppressed by antiretroviral regimens used to prevent MTCT. However, even with HAART, there was no significant reduction in the reservoir of infected cells, which could contribute to breast milk HIV-1 transmission.
PMCID: PMC2765916  PMID: 18614871
antiretrovirals; breast milk; cell associated; HIV; vertical transmission; viral load
13.  Nevirapine Resistance and Breast-Milk HIV Transmission: Effects of Single and Extended-Dose Nevirapine Prophylaxis in Subtype C HIV-Infected Infants 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(1):e4096.
Daily nevirapine (NVP) prophylaxis to HIV-exposed infants significantly reduces breast-milk HIV transmission. We assessed NVP-resistance in Indian infants enrolled in the “six-week extended-dose nevirapine” (SWEN) trial who received single-dose NVP (SD-NVP) or SWEN for prevention of breast-milk HIV transmission but who also acquired subtype C HIV infection during the first year of life.
Standard population sequencing and cloning for viral subpopulations present at ≥5% frequency were used to determine HIV genotypes from 94% of the 79 infected Indian infants studied. Timing of infection was defined based on when an infant's blood sample first tested positive for HIV DNA. SWEN-exposed infants diagnosed with HIV by six weeks of age had a significantly higher prevalence of NVP-resistance than those who received SD-NVP, by both standard population sequencing (92% of 12 vs. 38% of 29; p = 0.002) and low frequency clonal analysis (92% of 12 vs. 59% of 29; p = 0.06). Likelihood of infection with NVP-resistant HIV through breast-milk among infants infected after age six weeks was substantial, but prevalence of NVP-resistance did not differ among SWEN or SD-NVP exposed infants by standard population sequencing (15% of 13 vs. 15% of 20; p = 1.00) and clonal analysis (31% of 13 vs. 40% of 20; p = 0.72). Types of NVP-resistance mutations and patterns of persistence at one year of age were similar between the two groups. NVP-resistance mutations did differ by timing of HIV infection; the Y181C variant was predominant among infants diagnosed in the first six weeks of life, compared to Y188C/H during late breast-milk transmission.
Use of SWEN to prevent breast-milk HIV transmission carries a high likelihood of resistance if infection occurs in the first six weeks of life. Moreover, there was a continued risk of transmission of NVP-resistant HIV through breastfeeding during the first year of life, but did not differ between SD-NVP and SWEN groups. As with SD-NVP, the value of preventing HIV infection in a large number of infants should be considered alongside the high risk of resistance associated with extended NVP prophylaxis.
Trial Registration NCT00061321
PMCID: PMC2606064  PMID: 19119321
14.  Low-Frequency Nevirapine (NVP)–Resistant HIV-1 Variants Are Not Associated With Failure of Antiretroviral Therapy in Women Without Prior Exposure to Single-Dose NVP 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2014;209(5):703-710.
Background. Low-frequency nevirapine (NVP)–resistant variants have been associated with virologic failure (VF) of initial NVP-based combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) in women with prior exposure to single-dose NVP (sdNVP). We investigated whether a similar association exists in women without prior sdNVP exposure.
Methods. Pre-cART plasma was analyzed by allele-specific polymerase chain reaction to quantify NVP-resistant mutants in human immunodeficiency virus–infected African women without prior sdNVP who were starting first-line NVP-based cART in the OCTANE/A5208 trial 2. Associations between NVP-resistant mutants and VF or death were determined and compared with published results from women participating in the OCTANE/A5208 trial 1 who had taken sdNVP and initiated NVP-based cART.
Results. Pre-cART NVP-resistant variants were detected in 18% (39/219) of women without prior sdNVP exposure, compared to 45% (51/114) with prior sdNVP exposure (P < .001). Among women without prior sdNVP exposure, 8 of 39 (21%) with NVP-resistant variants experienced VF or death vs 31 of 180 (17%) without such variants (P = .65); this compares with 21 of 51 (41%) vs 9 of 63 (14%) among women with prior exposure (P = .001).
Conclusions. The risk of VF on NVP-based cART from NVP-resistant variants differs between sdNVP-exposed and -unexposed women. This difference may be driven by drug-resistance mutations emerging after sdNVP exposure that are linked on the same viral genome.
Clinical Trials Registration NCT00089505.
PMCID: PMC3923545  PMID: 24443547
minor drug-resistant variants; single-dose nevirapine; antiretroviral therapy failure
15.  Persistent Minority K103N Mutations among Women Exposed to Single-Dose Nevirapine and Virologic Response to Nonnucleoside Reverse-Transcriptase Inhibitor–Based Therapy 
We investigated whether there are long-lasting effects of exposure to single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP) treatment on virologic response to nonnucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)–based therapy among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected women.
An observational epidemiologic study was conducted in Johannesburg, South Africa. Initial and sustained virologic response to NNRTI-based therapy was compared between 94 HIV-infected women who had received sdNVP 18–36 months earlier and 60 unexposed, HIV-infected women who had been pregnant 12–36 months earlier. Viral load was measured every 4 weeks up to week 24 and then every 12 weeks up to week 78. Time to viral suppression (viral load, <50 copies/mL) and confirmed rebound in the viral load (viral load, >400 copies/mL) were compared. Drug resistance was assessed using K103N allele–specific real-time polymerase chain reaction assay and population sequencing.
Almost all women (97.5% of sdNVP-exposed women and 91.3% of sdNVP-unexposed women; P = .21) achieved viral suppression by week 24, and similar percentages of sdNVP-exposed and -unexposed women (19.4% and 15.1%, respectively) experienced viral rebound within 78 weeks after treatment (P = .57). K103N was detected with the K103N allele–specific real-time polymerase chain reaction assay among sdNVP-exposed and - unexposed women before treatment; detection was strongly predictive of inadequate viral response: 60.9% of women for whom K103N was detected in either viral RNA or DNA did not experience viral suppression or experienced viral rebound, compared with 15.1% of women for whom K103N was not detected (P < .001). After treatment, the M184V mutation occurred less frequently among sdNVP-exposed women than among sdNVP-unexposed women, but the frequency of NNRTI-associated mutations was similar between these groups of women with inadequate virologic response.
Exposure to sdNVP in the prior 18–36 months was not associated with a reduced likelihood of achieving and sustaining viral suppression while receiving NNRTI-based therapy. However, women with minority K103N mutations before treatment had a reduced durability of virologic suppression.
PMCID: PMC2810158  PMID: 19133804
16.  Safety and Efficacy of HIV Hyperimmune Globulin (HIVIGLOB) for Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission in HIV-1 infected Pregnant Women and their Infants in Kampala, Uganda (HIVIGLOB/NVP STUDY) 
This phase III randomized clinical trial compared single dose nevirapine (sdNVP) plus HIV immunoglobulin (HIVIGLOB) to sdNVP alone for preventing maternal-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV.
Primary objectives were to determine rates of HIV infection among infants, and to assess the safety of HIVIGLOB in combination with sdNVP in HIV-infected Ugandan pregnant women and their infants.
Mother-infant pairs were randomized to receive 200mg of NVP to women in labor and 2mg/kg NVP to newborns within 72 hours after birth (sdNVP arm) or to receive sdNVP plus a single intravenous 240ml dose of HIVIGLOB given to women at 36-38 weeks gestation and a single intravenous 24ml dose to newborns within 18 hours of birth (HIVIGLOB/sdNVP arm). Risk of HIV infection was determined using Kaplan-Meier and risk ratio estimates at birth, 2, 6, 14 weeks, 6 and 12 months of age.
Intent-to-treat analysis included 198 HIVIGLOB/sdNVP and 294 sdNVP mother-infant pairs. At 6 months of age, the primary endpoint, there was no statistically significant difference in HIV transmission in the HIVIGLOB/sdNVP arm versus the sdNVP arm (18.7% vs.15.0%; RR =1.240 [95% CI: 0.833-1.846]; p= 0.290). Similarly, the proportion of serious adverse events in the HIVIGLOB/sdNVP and sdNVP arms, respectively for mothers (18.9% vs. 19.3%; p= 0.91) and infants (62.6% vs. 59.5%; p=0.51), were not significantly different.
Giving mother-infant pairs an infusion of peripartum HIV hyperimmunoglobulin in addition to sdNVP for PMTCT was as safe as sdNVP alone, but was no more effective than sdNVP alone in preventing HIV transmission.
PMCID: PMC3204156  PMID: 21826009
HIV; HIVIGLOB; sdNVP; breastfeeding; PMTCT; Uganda
17.  Frequency of Antiretroviral Resistance Mutations among Infants Exposed to Single-Dose Nevirapine and Short Course Maternal Antiretroviral Regimens: ACTG A5207 
Intrapartum single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP) reduces HIV-1 perinatal transmission but selects NVP resistance among mothers and infants. We evaluated the frequency of antiretroviral resistance among infants with intrauterine HIV-1 infection exposed to sdNVP and maternal antenatal or breastfeeding antiretroviral therapy.
This analysis included 429 infants from sub-Saharan Africa, India and Haiti whose 422 mothers received sdNVP plus maternal study treatment. At entry mothers had CD4>250/μL and were ART-naïve except for antenatal ZDV per local standard of care. Maternal study treatment started intrapartum and included ZDV/3TC, TDF/FTC or LPV/r for 7 or 21 days in a randomized factorial design. Infants received sdNVP study treatment and ZDV if local standard of care. Infant HIV RNA or DNA PCR and samples for genotype were obtained at birth and weeks 2, 4 and 12; infants who ever breast-fed were also tested at weeks 16, 24, 48 and 96. Samples from HIV-1-infected infants were tested for drug resistance by population genotype (ViroSeq). NVP or NRTI resistance mutations were assessed using the IAS-USA mutation list.
Perinatal HIV-1 transmission occurred in 17 (4.0%) infants including 12 intrauterine infections. Resistance mutations were detected among 5 (42%) intrauterine-infected infants; of these, 3 had mutations conferring resistance to NVP alone, 1 had resistance to NRTI alone, and 1 had dual-class resistance mutations. Among the 2 infants with NRTI mutations, one (K70R) was likely maternally transmitted and one (K65R) occurred in the context of breastfeeding exposure to maternal antiretroviral therapy.
Infants with intrauterine HIV infection are at risk of acquiring resistance mutations from exposure to maternal antiretroviral medications intrapartum and/or during breastfeeding. New approaches are needed to lower the risk of antiretroviral resistance in these infants.
PMCID: PMC4625799  PMID: 26525108
Infant; HIV-1 Perinatal transmission; Nevirapine; Nucleoside reverse transcriptase; Inhibitors; Antiretroviral resistance; Clinical trials registration: (NCT00099632)
18.  Analysis of nevirapine (NVP) resistance in HIV-infected infants who received extended NVP or NVP/zidovudine prophylaxis 
AIDS (London, England)  2011;25(7):911-917.
In the PEPI-Malawi trial, infants received up to 14 weeks of extended nevirapine (NVP) or extended NVP plus zidovudine (NVP+ZDV) to prevent postnatal HIV transmission. We examined emergence and persistence of NVP resistance in HIV-infected infants who received these regimens prior to HIV diagnosis.
Infant plasma samples collected at 14 weeks of age were tested using the ViroSeq HIV Genotyping System and a sensitive point-mutation assay, LigAmp (for K103N and Y181C). Samples collected at 6 and 12 months of age were analyzed using LigAmp.
At 14 weeks of age, NVP resistance was detected in samples from 82 (75.9%) of 108 HIV-infected infants. While the frequency of NVP resistance detected by ViroSeq was lower in the extended NVP+ZDV arm than in the extended NVP arm, the difference was not statistically significant (38/55=69.1% vs. 44/53=83.0%, P=0.12). Similar results were obtained using LigAmp. Using LigAmp, the proportion of infants who still had detectable NVP resistance at 6 and 12 months was similar among infants in the two study arms (at 6 months: 17/20=85.0% for extended NVP vs. 21/26=80.8% for extended NVP+ZDV, P=1.00; at 12 months: 9/16=56.3% for extended NVP vs.10/13=76.9% for extended NVP+ZDV, P=0.43).
Infants exposed to extended NVP or extended NVP+ZDV had high rates of NVP resistance at 14 weeks of age, and resistant variants frequently persisted for 6–12 months. Frequency and persistence of NVP resistance did not differ significantly among infants who received extended NVP only vs. extended NVP+ZDV prophylaxis.
PMCID: PMC3261770  PMID: 21487249
HIV; nevirapine; resistance; infants; Malawi
19.  Minor resistant variants in nevirapine-exposed infants may predict virologic failure on nevirapine-containing ART 
Single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP) is widely used to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV-1. This may result in NVP resistance in both mother and infant. The significance of low levels of NVP resistance mutations in infants treated with NVP-containing antiretroviral treatment (ART) is unknown.
To determine the presence of pre-treatment NVP resistance in HIV-infected infants with and without prior NVP exposure.
Study Design
33 HIV-1-infected infants in a PMTCT trial received NVP-containing ART (26 infants with prior NVP exposure). Plasma and buffy coat samples obtained prior to ART initiation were evaluated for drug resistance by bulk sequencing and allele-specific PCR (ASPCR).
ViroSeq™ identified NVP resistance in 3 of 33 infants; all failed first-line therapy. Pre-ART plasma NVP resistance by ASPCR was detected in 9 of 16 children experiencing virologic failure compared to 4 of 17 children without virologic failure (risk ratio 2.4, CI 0.94-7.8, p=0.08). Proviral resistance was not associated with virologic failure (risk ratio 1.2, CI 0.8-2.0, p= 0.40). In the nevirapine-exposed infants, those who started ART before 7 months had higher risk of virologic failure (RR 2.3; CI 0.96-9.2; p=0.11).
Low level drug resistance detected in plasma after NVP exposure prior to ART initiation may be associated with virologic failure on ART, while resistance in the DNA reservoir was not predictive of treatment outcome.
PMCID: PMC2909836  PMID: 20427228
HIV; minor variant; drug resistance; nevirapine; PMTCT
20.  Greater Suppression of Nevirapine Resistance With 21- vs 7-Day Antiretroviral Regimens After Intrapartum Single-Dose Nevirapine for Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV 
Seven- or 21-day regimens of tenofovir/emtricitabine, zidovudine/lamivudine, or lopinavir/ritonavir after single-dose nevirapine (NVP) were effective in suppressing NVP resistance detected by population genotype. Allele-specific polymerase chain reaction revealed that the 21-day regimens were significantly better at preventing the emergence of minor NVP resistance.
Background. Nevirapine (NVP) resistance emerges in up to 70% of women exposed to single-dose (sd) NVP for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Methods. HIV-infected pregnant women were randomized to receive sdNVP and either zidovudine/lamivudine (3TC), tenofovir/emtricitabine (FTC), or lopinavir/ritonavir for either 7 or 21 days. The primary endpoint was the emergence of new NVP resistance mutations as detected by standard population genotype at 2 and 6 weeks after treatment. Low-frequency NVP- or 3TC/FTC-resistant mutants at codons 103, 181, and 184 were sought using allele-specific polymerase chain reaction (ASP).
Results. Among 484 women randomized, 422 (87%) received study treatment. Four hundred twelve (98%) women had primary endpoint results available; of these, 5 (1.2%) had new NVP resistance detected by population genotype: 4 of 215 in the 7-day arms (1.9%; K103N in 4 women with Y181C, Y188C, or G190A in 3 of 4) and 1 of 197 (0.5%; V108I) in the 21-day arms (P = .37). Among women with ASP results, new NVP resistance mutations emerged significantly more often in the 7-day arms (13/74 [18%]) than in the 21-day arms (3/66 [5%], P = .019). 3TC/FTC-resistant mutants (M184V/I) emerged infrequently (7/134 [5%]), and their occurrence did not differ by arm.
Conclusions. Three short-term antiretroviral strategies, begun simultaneously with the administration of sdNVP, resulted in a low rate (1.2%) of new NVP-resistance mutations when assessed at 2 and 6 weeks following completion of study treatment by standard genotype. ASP revealed that 21-day regimens were significantly better than 7-day regimens at preventing the emergence of minor NVP resistance variants.
Clinical Trials Registration. NCT00099632.
PMCID: PMC3588119  PMID: 23300238
nevirapine; mother-to-child transmission; pregnancy; resistance; HIV
21.  Quantifying the Impact of Nevirapine-Based Prophylaxis Strategies To Prevent Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV-1: a Combined Pharmacokinetic, Pharmacodynamic, and Viral Dynamic Analysis To Predict Clinical Outcomes▿† 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2011;55(12):5529-5540.
Single-dose nevirapine (sd-NVP) and extended NVP prophylaxis are widely used in resource-constrained settings to prevent vertical HIV-1 transmission. We assessed the pharmacokinetics of sd-NVP in 62 HIV-1-positive pregnant Ugandan woman and their newborns who were receiving sd-NVP prophylaxis to prevent mother-to-child HIV-1 transmission. Based on these data, we developed a mathematical model system to quantify the impact of different sd-NVP regimens at delivery and of extended infant NVP prophylaxis (6, 14, 21, 26, 52, 78, and 102 weeks) on the 2-year risk of HIV-1 transmission and development of drug resistance in mothers and their breast-fed infants. Pharmacokinetic parameter estimates and model-predicted HIV-1 transmission rates were very consistent with other studies. Predicted 2-year HIV-1 transmission risks were 35.8% without prophylaxis, 31.6% for newborn sd-NVP, 19.1% for maternal sd-NVP, and 19.7% for maternal/newborn sd-NVP. Maternal sd-NVP reduced newborn infection predominately by transplacental exchange, providing protective NVP concentrations to the newborn at delivery, rather than by maternal viral load reduction. Drug resistance was frequently selected in HIV-1-positive mothers after maternal sd-NVP. Extended newborn NVP prophylaxis further decreased HIV-1 transmission risks, but an overall decline in cost-effectiveness for increasing durations of newborn prophylaxis was indicated. The total number of infections with resistant virus in newborns was not increased by extended newborn NVP prophylaxis. The developed mathematical modeling framework successfully predicted the risk of HIV-1 transmission and resistance development and can be adapted to other drugs/drug combinations to a priori assess their potential in reducing vertical HIV-1 transmission and resistance spread.
PMCID: PMC3232796  PMID: 21947390
22.  Emergence and Persistence of Minor Drug-Resistant HIV-1 Variants in Ugandan Women after Nevirapine Single-Dose Prophylaxis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e20357.
Nevirapine (NVP) single-dose is still a widely used antiretroviral prophylaxis for the prevention of vertical HIV-1 transmission in resource-limited settings. However, the main disadvantage of the Non-nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor (NNRTI) NVP is the rapid selection of NVP-resistant virus with negative implications for subsequent NNRTI-based long-term antiretroviral therapy (ART). Here, we analysed the emergence of drug-resistant HIV-1 including minor variants in the early phase after NVP single-dose prophylaxis and the persistence of drug-resistant virus over time.
Methods and Findings
NVP-resistant HIV-1 harbouring the K103N and/or Y181C resistance mutations in the HIV-1 reverse transcriptase gene was measured from 1 week up to 18 months after NVP single-dose prophylaxis in 29 Ugandan women using allele-specific PCR assays capable of detecting drug-resistant variants representing less than 1% of the whole viral population. In total, drug-resistant HIV-1 was identified in 18/29 (62%) women; rates increased from 18% to 38% and 44% at week 1, 2, 6, respectively, and decreased to 18%, 25%, 13% and 4% at month 3, 6, 12 and 18, respectively. The proportion of NVP-resistant virus of the total viral population was significantly higher in women infected with subtype D (median 40.5%) as compared to subtype A (median 1.3%; p = 0.032, Mann-Whitney U test). 33% of resistant virus was not detectable at week 2 but was for the first time measurable 6–12 weeks after NVP single-dose prophylaxis. Three (10%) women harboured resistant virus in proportions >10% still at month 6.
Current WHO guidelines recommend an additional postnatal intake of AZT and 3TC for one week to avoid NVP resistance formation. Our findings indicate that a 1-week medication might be too short to impede the emergence of NVP resistance in a substantial proportion of women. Furthermore, subsequent NNRTI-based ART should not be started earlier than 12 months after NVP single-dose prophylaxis.
PMCID: PMC3105030  PMID: 21655245
23.  Randomized non-inferiority trial of two maternal single-dose nevirapine sparing regimens to prevent perinatal HIV in Thailand (PHPT-5) 
AIDS (London, England)  2015;29(18):2497-2507.
Perinatal single-dose nevirapine (sdNVP) selects for resistance mutations. The objective of this trial was to compare two maternal sdNVP-sparing regimens with standard zidovudine (ZDV)/sdNVP prophylaxis.
PHPT-5 was a randomized, partially double-blind placebo-controlled, non-inferiority trial in Thailand (NCT00409591). Subjects were women with CD4 ≥250 cells/mm3 and their infants.
All women received ZDV from 28 weeks’ gestation and their newborn infants for one week. Women were also randomized to receive A) NVP-NVP (reference): maternal intrapartum sdNVP with a 7-day “tail” of ZDV+lamivudine, plus infant NVP (one dose immediately, another 48 hours later); B) Infant-only NVP: maternal placebos for sdNVP and the “tail”, plus infant NVP; C) LPV/r: maternal LPV/r starting at 28 weeks. Infants were formula-fed. HIV-diagnosis was determined by DNA-PCR.
435 women were randomized between January 2009 and September 2010. Accrual was terminated prematurely following a change in Thai guidelines recommending antiretroviral combination therapy for all pregnant women. Data on 405 mothers and 407 live-born children were analyzed. Baseline characteristics were similar between arms. Intent-to-treat transmission rates were 3.8% (95% CI: 1.2–8.6) in NVP-NVP, 1.6% (0.2–5.6) in infant-only NVP and 1.4% (0.4–5.1) in LPV/r arms. As-treated rates were 2.2% (0.5–6.4), 3.2% (0.9–7.9) and 1.5% (0.2–5.2), respectively. Factors independently associated with transmission were prophylaxis duration <8 weeks (aOR 15.5; 3.6–66.1) and viral load at baseline ≥4 log10 copies/mL (aOR 10.9; 1.3–91.5). Regimens appeared safe.
Transmission rates in all arms were low but non-inferiority was not proven. Antiretroviral prophylaxis for ≥8 weeks before delivery is necessary to minimize transmission risk.
PMCID: PMC4871947  PMID: 26372485
HIV; Prevention of Mother-to-child transmission; Antiretroviral Therapy; Clinical trial; Thailand
24.  Impact of Maternal and Infant Antiretroviral Drug Regimens on Drug Resistance in HIV-Infected Breastfeeding Infants 
The Pediatric infectious disease journal  2013;32(4):10.1097/INF.0b013e31827f44ee.
The HPTN 046 trial evaluated the efficacy of extended infant nevirapine (NVP) administration for prevention of HIV transmission through breastfeeding. Infants received daily NVP to 6 weeks of age. HIV-uninfected infants (the intent-to-treat group) received daily NVP or placebo up to 6 months of age. We analyzed emergence of NVP resistance in infants who acquired HIV-infection despite prophylaxis.
HIV genotyping was performed using the ViroSeq HIV Genotyping System. Medians and proportions were used to summarize data. Two-sided Fisher’s exact tests were used to evaluate associations between categorical variables.
NVP resistance was detected in 12 (92.3%) of 13 infants who were HIV-infected by 6 weeks and in seven (28%) of 25 infants who were HIV-uninfected at 6 weeks and HIV-infected at 6 months of age (6/8=75% in the NVP arm, 1/17=5.9% in the placebo arm, P=0.001). Among those 25 infants, 4 had mothers who initiated an antiretroviral (ARV) treatment regimen by 6 months postpartum. In all 4 cases, the treatment regimen included a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NVP or efavirenz). NVP resistance was detected in all four of those infants by 6 months of age (4/4=100%). In contrast, only three (14.2%) of the remaining 21 HIV-infected infants whose mothers did not initiate ARV treatment developed NVP resistance (P=0.003).
Extended NVP prophylaxis significantly increased the risk of NVP resistance in infants who acquired HIV infection after 6 weeks of age. Treatment of maternal HIV infection was also associated with emergence of NVP resistance in HIV-infected, breastfed infants.
PMCID: PMC3826537  PMID: 23249916
Nevirapine resistance; prevention of mother-to-child transmission; extended nevirapine; HIV
25.  Effectiveness of Non-nucleoside Reverse-Transcriptase Inhibitor-Based Antiretroviral Therapy in Women Previously Exposed to a Single Intrapartum Dose of Nevirapine: A Multi-country, Prospective Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(2):e1000233.
In a comparative cohort study, Jeffrey Stringer and colleagues investigate the risk of ART failure in women who received single-dose nevirapine for PMTCT, and assess the duration of increased risk.
Intrapartum and neonatal single-dose nevirapine (NVP) reduces the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission but also induces viral resistance to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) drugs. This drug resistance largely fades over time. We hypothesized that women with a prior single-dose NVP exposure would have no more than a 10% higher cumulative prevalence of failure of their NNRTI-containing antiretroviral therapy (ART) over the first 48 wk of therapy than would women without a prior exposure.
Methods and Findings
We enrolled 355 NVP-exposed and 523 NVP-unexposed women at two sites in Zambia, one site in Kenya, and two sites in Thailand into a prospective, non-inferiority cohort study and followed them for 48 wk on ART. Those who died, discontinued NNRTI-containing ART, or had a plasma viral load ≥400 copies/ml at either the 24 wk or 48 wk study visits and confirmed on repeat testing were characterized as having failed therapy. Overall, 114 of 355 NVP-exposed women (32.1%) and 132 of 523 NVP-unexposed women (25.2%) met criteria for treatment failure. The difference in failure rates between the exposure groups was 6.9% (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.8%–13.0%). The failure rates of women stratified by our predefined exposure interval categories were as follows: 47 of 116 women in whom less than 6 mo elapsed between exposure and starting ART failed therapy (40%; p<0.001 compared to unexposed women); 25 of 67 women in whom 7–12 mo elapsed between exposure and starting ART failed therapy (37%; p = 0.04 compared to unexposed women); and 42 of 172 women in whom more than 12 mo elapsed between exposure and starting ART failed therapy (24%; p = 0.82 compared to unexposed women). Locally weighted regression analysis also indicated a clear inverse relationship between virologic failure and the exposure interval.
Prior exposure to single-dose NVP was associated with an increased risk of treatment failure; however, this risk seems largely confined to women with a more recent exposure. Women requiring ART within 12 mo of NVP exposure should not be prescribed an NNRTI-containing regimen as first-line therapy.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Every year, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) kills nearly 300,000 children. At the end of 2008, 2.1 million children were positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the cause of AIDS, and in that year alone more than 400,000 children were newly infected with HIV. Most HIV-positive children acquire the virus from their mothers during pregnancy or birth or through breastfeeding, so-called mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). Without intervention, 15%–30% of babies born to HIV-positive women become infected with HIV during pregnancy and delivery, and a further 5%–20% become infected through breastfeeding. These rates of infection can be greatly reduced by treating the mother and her newborn baby with antiretroviral drugs. A single dose of nevirapine (a “non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor” or NNRTI) given to the mother at the start of labor and to the baby soon after birth reduces the risk of MTCT by nearly a half; a further reduction in risk can be achieved by giving the mother and her baby additional antiretroviral drugs during pregnancy, around the time of birth, and while breast-feeding.
Why Was This Study Done?
Single-dose nevirapine is the mainstay of MTCT prevention programs in many poor countries but can induce resistance to nevirapine and to other NNRTIs. The drugs used to treat HIV infections fall into several different classes defined by how they stop viral growth. HIV can become resistant to any of these drugs and a virus strain that is resistant to one member of a drug class is often also resistant to other members of the same class. Because most first-line antiretroviral therapies (ARTs; cocktails of antiretroviral drugs) used in developing countries contain an NNRTI and because HIV-positive mothers eventually need ART to safeguard their own health, the resistance to NNRTIs that is induced in women by single-dose nevirapine might decrease the chances that ART will work for them later. In this multi-country, prospective cohort study, the researchers compare the effectiveness of NNRTI-containing ART in a group (cohort) of women previously exposed to single-dose nevirapine during childbirth to its effectiveness in a group of unexposed women. They also investigate whether the length of time between nevirapine exposure and ART initiation affects ART effectiveness.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers enrolled 355 HIV-positive nevirapine-exposed women and 523 HIV-positive nevirapine-unexposed women in Zambia, Kenya, and Thailand who were just starting NNRTI-containing ART and followed them for 48 weeks. They defined ART failure as death, discontinuation of NNRTI-containing ART, or a high virus load in the blood (virologic failure) at 24 or 48 weeks. ART failed in nearly a third of the nevirapine-exposed women but in only a quarter of the nevirapine-unexposed women. Women who began ART within 6 months of taking single-dose nevirapine to prevent MTCT were twice as likely to experience ART failure as women not exposed to single-dose nevirapine. Women who began ART 7–12 months after single-dose nevirapine had a slightly increased risk of ART failure compared to unexposed women but this increased risk was not statistically significant; that is, it could have occurred by chance. Women who began ART more than 12 months after single-dose nevirapine did not have an increased risk of ART failure compared to unexposed women. Finally, the researchers used a statistical method called locally weighted regression analysis to confirm that an increase in the interval between single-dose nevirapine and ART initiation decreased the risk of virologic failure.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings, which confirm and extend the results of previous studies and which are likely to be generalizable to other resource-poor countries, indicate that single-dose nevirapine given to women to prevent MTCT increases their risk of subsequent ART failure. More positively, they also show that this increased failure risk is largely confined to women who begin ART within a year of exposure to nevirapine. Because of the study design, it is possible that the nevirapine-exposed women share some additional, undefined characteristic that makes them more likely to fail ART than unexposed women. Even so, these findings suggest that, provided NNRTI-containing ART is not given to HIV-positive women within a year of nevirapine exposure, single-dose nevirapine can be safely used to prevent MTCT without compromising the mother's future antiretroviral treatment options.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS, on treatments for HIV/AIDS, and on HIV infection in infants and children
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of 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
PMCID: PMC2821896  PMID: 20169113

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