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1.  Field Evaluation of a Broadly Sensitive HIV-1 In-House Genotyping Assay for Use with both Plasma and Dried Blood Spot Specimens in a Resource-Limited Country 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(2):529-539.
HIV-1 drug resistance (HIVDR) assays are important tools in clinical management of HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and surveillance of drug-resistant variants at population levels. The high cost associated with commercial assays hinders their use in resource-limited settings. We adopted and validated a low-cost in-house assay using 68 matched plasma and dried blood spot (DBS) samples with a median viral load (VL) of 58,187 copies/ml, ranging from 253 to 3,264,850 against the commercial assay ViroSeq. Results indicated that the in-house assay not only had a higher plasma genotyping rate than did ViroSeq (94% versus 78%) but also was able to genotype 89.5% (51/57) of the matched DBS samples with VLs of ≥1,000 copies/ml. The sensitivity in detecting DR mutations by the in-house assay was 98.29% (95% confidence interval [CI], 97.86 to 98.72) on plasma and 96.54 (95% CI, 95.93 to 97.15) on DBS, and the specificity was 99.97% (95% CI, 99.91 to 100.00) for both sample types compared to ViroSeq. The minor DR mutation differences detected by the in-house assay against ViroSeq did not result in clinical significance. In addition, cost analysis showed that the in-house assay could reduce the genotyping cost by about 60% for both plasma and DBS compared to ViroSeq. This field condition evaluation highlights the potential utility of a cost-effective, subtype-independent, in-house genotyping assay using both plasma and DBS specimens for HIVDR clinical monitoring and population-based surveillance in resource-limited settings.
doi:10.1128/JCM.02347-12
PMCID: PMC3553877  PMID: 23224100
2.  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
3.  Evaluation of a Cost Effective In-House Method for HIV-1 Drug Resistance Genotyping Using Plasma Samples 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e87441.
Objectives
Validation of a cost effective in-house method for HIV-1 drug resistance genotyping using plasma samples.
Design
The validation includes the establishment of analytical performance characteristics such as accuracy, reproducibility, precision and sensitivity.
Methods
The accuracy was assessed by comparing 26 paired Virological Quality Assessment (VQA) proficiency testing panel sequences generated by in-house and ViroSeq Genotyping System 2.0 (Celera Diagnostics, US) as a gold standard. The reproducibility and precision were carried out on five samples with five replicates representing multiple HIV-1 subtypes (A, B, C) and resistance patterns. The amplification sensitivity was evaluated on HIV-1 positive plasma samples (n = 88) with known viral loads ranges from 1000–1.8 million RNA copies/ml.
Results
Comparison of the nucleotide sequences generated by ViroSeq and in-house method showed 99.41±0.46 and 99.68±0.35% mean nucleotide and amino acid identity respectively. Out of 135 Stanford HIVdb listed HIV-1 drug resistance mutations, partial discordance was observed at 15 positions and complete discordance was absent. The reproducibility and precision study showed high nucleotide sequence identities i.e. 99.88±0.10 and 99.82±0.20 respectively. The in-house method showed 100% analytical sensitivity on the samples with HIV-1 viral load >1000 RNA copies/ml. The cost of running the in-house method is only 50% of that for ViroSeq method (112$ vs 300$), thus making it cost effective.
Conclusions
The validated cost effective in-house method may be used to collect surveillance data on the emergence and transmission of HIV-1 drug resistance in resource limited countries. Moreover, the wide applications of a cost effective and validated in-house method for HIV-1 drug resistance testing will facilitate the decision making for the appropriate management of HIV infected patients.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0087441
PMCID: PMC3922725  PMID: 24533056
4.  Simultaneous Detection of Major Drug Resistance Mutations in the Protease and Reverse Transcriptase Genes for HIV-1 Subtype C by Use of a Multiplex Allele-Specific Assay 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(11):3666-3674.
High-throughput, sensitive, and cost-effective HIV drug resistance (HIVDR) detection assays are needed for large-scale monitoring of the emergence and transmission of HIVDR in resource-limited settings. Using suspension array technology, we have developed a multiplex allele-specific (MAS) assay that can simultaneously detect major HIVDR mutations at 20 loci. Forty-five allele-specific primers tagged with unique 24-base oligonucleotides at the 5′ end were designed to detect wild-type and mutant alleles at the 20 loci of HIV-1 subtype C. The MAS assay was first established and optimized with three plasmid templates (C-wt, C-mut1, and C-mut2) and then evaluated using 148 plasma specimens from HIV-1 subtype C-infected individuals. All the wild-type and mutant alleles were unequivocally distinguished with plasmid templates, and the limits of detection were 1.56% for K219Q and K219E, 3.13% for L76V, 6.25% for K65R, K70R, L74V, L100I, K103N, K103R, Q151M, Y181C, and I47V, and 12.5% for M41L, K101P, K101E, V106A, V106M, Y115F, M184V, Y188L, G190A, V32I, I47A, I84V, and L90M. Analyses of 148 plasma specimens revealed that the MAS assay gave 100% concordance with conventional sequencing at eight loci and >95% (range, 95.21% to 99.32%) concordance at the remaining 12 loci. The differences observed were caused mainly by 24 additional low-abundance alleles detected by the MAS assay. Ultradeep sequencing analysis confirmed 15 of the 16 low-abundance alleles. This multiplex, sensitive, and straightforward result-reporting assay represents a new efficient genotyping tool for HIVDR surveillance and monitoring.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01669-13
PMCID: PMC3889749  PMID: 23985909
5.  Performance Characteristics of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) Genotyping Systems in Sequence-Based Analysis of Subtypes Other than HIV-1 Subtype B 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2003;41(3):998-1003.
Given the diversity of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) subtypes and the emergence of subtypes other than HIV-1 subtype B in the United States, genotypic assays must be capable of delivering sequence data on diverse HIV-1 subtypes. We evaluated the performance of Visible Genetics TRUGENE HIV-1 genotyping kit and Applied Biosystems ViroSeq HIV-1 genotyping system on a panel of 34 well-characterized HIV-1 viral stocks (subtypes A through H). Both assays perform well on diverse HIV-1 subtypes despite being designed for HIV-1 subtype B. The TRUGENE assay produced sequence data for 31 isolates but not for one C and two G isolates. The TRUGENE assay using prototype 1.5 RT-PCR primers and the ViroSeq assay were both successful for all variants tested, although five isolates lacked double-strand sequence coverage in the ViroSeq assay. The availability of standardized HIV-1 genotyping kits that perform reliably with all HIV subtypes will facilitate broad implementation of HIV-1 resistance testing.
doi:10.1128/JCM.41.3.998-1003.2003
PMCID: PMC150292  PMID: 12624021
6.  Population-Based Monitoring of Emerging HIV-1 Drug Resistance on Antiretroviral Therapy and Associated Factors in a Sentinel Site in Cameroon: Low Levels of Resistance but Poor Programmatic Performance 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e72680.
Background
Scale-up of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in resource-limited settings has drastically reduced HIV-related morbidity and mortality. However, challenges in long-term ART, adherence and HIV drug resistance (HIVDR) itself, require monitoring to limit HIVDR emergence among ART-experienced populations, in order to ensure regimen efficacy.
Methods
A longitudinal study was conducted from 2009–2011 in a cohort of 141 HIV-infected adult patients (aged >21) at the national social insurance centre hospital in Yaounde, Cameroon. As per-WHO HIVDR protocol, HIV-1 protease-reverse transcriptase genotyping was performed at baseline and at endpoint (12 months) on first-line ART using ViroSeq™ Genotyping kit.
Results
At baseline, a prevalence of 3.6% (5/139) HIVDR was observed [protease inhibitors M46I (1/5), G73A (1/5), L90LM (1/5); nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors: M184V (1/5), T215F (1/5); non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors: K103N (1/5), Y181Y/C (2/5), M230ML (1/5)]. At endpoint, 54.0% (76) patients were followed-up, 9.2% (13) died, and 3.5% (5) transferred, 38.5% (47) lost to follow-up (LTFU). 69.7% (53/76) of those followed-up had viremia <40 copies/ml and 90.8% (69/76) <1000 copies/ml. 4/7 patients with viremia ≥1000 copies/ml harbored HIVDR (prevalence: 5.3%; 4/76), with M184V/I (4/4) and K103K/N (3/4) being the most prevalent mutations. LTFU was favored by costs for consultation/laboratory tests, drug shortages, workload (physician/patient ratio: 1/180) and community disengagement.
Conclusions
Low levels of HIVDR at baseline and at endpoint suggest a probable effectiveness of ART regimens used in Cameroon. However the possible high rate of HIVDR among LTFUs limited the strengths of our findings. Evaluating HIVDR among LTFU, improving adherence, task shifting, subsidizing/harmonizing costs for routine follow-up, are urgent measures to ensure an improved success of the country ART performance.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072680
PMCID: PMC3753336  PMID: 23991142
7.  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
8.  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
9.  Comparison of Ahlstrom Grade 226, Munktell TFN, and Whatman 903 Filter Papers for Dried Blood Spot Specimen Collection and Subsequent HIV-1 Load and Drug Resistance Genotyping Analysis 
Dried blood spots (DBS) collected onto filter paper have eased the difficulty of blood collection in resource-limited settings. Currently, Whatman 903 (W-903) filter paper is the only filter paper that has been used for HIV load and HIV drug resistance (HIVDR) testing. We therefore evaluated two additional commercially available filter papers, Ahlstrom grade 226 (A-226) and Munktell TFN (M-TFN), for viral load (VL) testing and HIVDR genotyping using W-903 filter paper as a comparison group. DBS specimens were generated from 344 adult patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Botswana. The VL was measured with NucliSENS EasyQ HIV-1 v2.0, and genotyping was performed for those specimens with a detectable VL (≥2.90 log10 copies/ml) using an in-house method. Bland-Altman analysis revealed a strong concordance in quantitative VL analysis between W-903 and A-226 (bias = −0.034 ± 0.246 log10 copies/ml [mean difference ± standard deviation]) and W-903 and M-TFN (bias = −0.028 ± 0.186 log10 copies/ml) filter papers, while qualitative VL analysis for virological failure determination, defined as a VL of ≥3.00 log10 copies/ml, showed low sensitivities for A-266 (71.54%) and M-TFN (65.71%) filter papers compared to W-903 filter paper. DBS collected on M-TFN filter paper had the highest genotyping efficiency (100%) compared to W-903 and A-226 filter papers (91.7%) and appeared more sensitive in detecting major HIVDR mutations. DBS collected on A-226 and M-TFN filter papers performed similarly to DBS collected on W-903 filter paper for quantitative VL analysis and HIVDR detection. Together, the encouraging genotyping results and the variability observed in determining virological failure from this small pilot study warrant further investigation of A-226 and M-TFN filter papers as specimen collection devices for HIVDR monitoring surveys.
doi:10.1128/JCM.02002-12
PMCID: PMC3536251  PMID: 23077127
10.  HIV-1 drug resistance genotyping from dried blood spots stored for 1 year at 4°C 
Background
Dried blood spots (DBSs) are an attractive alternative to plasma for HIV-1 drug resistance testing in resource-limited settings. We recently showed that HIV-1 can be efficiently genotyped from DBSs stored at −20°C for prolonged periods (0.5–4 years). Here, we evaluated the efficiency of genotyping from DBSs stored at 4°C for 1 year.
Methods
A total of 40 DBSs were prepared from residual diagnostic specimens collected from HIV subtype B-infected persons and were stored with desiccant at 4°C. Total nucleic acids were extracted after 1 year using a modification of the Nuclisens assay. Resistance testing was performed using the ViroSeq HIV-1 assay and an in-house nested RT–PCR method validated for HIV-1 subtype B that amplifies a smaller (1 kb) pol fragment.
Results
Using the ViroSeq assay, only 23 of the 40 (57.5%) DBS specimens were successfully genotyped; 22 of these specimens had plasma viraemia >10 000 RNA copies/mL. When the specimens were tested using the in-house assay, 38 of the 40 DBSs (95%) were successfully genotyped. Overall, resistance genotypes generated from the DBSs and plasma were highly concordant.
Conclusions
We show that drug resistance genotyping from DBSs stored at 4°C with desiccant is highly efficient but requires the amplification of small pol fragments and the use of an in-house nested PCR protocol with quality-controlled reagents. These findings suggest that 4°C may represent a suitable temperature for long-term storage of DBSs.
doi:10.1093/jac/dkn100
PMCID: PMC2386080  PMID: 18344550
resistance testing; ViroSeq assay; 903 filter paper
11.  Performance of the Celera Diagnostics ViroSeq HIV-1 Genotyping System for Sequence-Based Analysis of Diverse Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Strains 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2004;42(6):2711-2717.
The Celera Diagnostics ViroSeq HIV-1 Genotyping System is a Food and Drug Administration-cleared, integrated system for sequence-based analysis of drug resistance mutations in subtype B human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) protease and reverse transcriptase (RT). We evaluated the performance of this system for the analysis of diverse HIV-1 strains. Plasma samples were obtained from 126 individuals from Uganda, Cameroon, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, and Thailand with viral loads ranging from 2.92 to >6.0 log10 copies/ml. HIV-1 genotyping was performed with the ViroSeq system. HIV-1 subtyping was performed by using phylogenetic methods. PCR products suitable for sequencing were obtained for 125 (99%) of the 126 samples. Genotypes including protease (amino acids 1 to 99) and RT (amino acids 1 to 321) were obtained for 124 (98%) of the samples. Full bidirectional sequence data were obtained for 95 of those samples. The sequences were categorized into the following subtypes: A1/A2 (16 samples), B (12 samples), C (13 samples), D (11 samples), CRF01_AE (9 samples), F/F2 (9 samples), G (7 samples), CRF02_AG (32 samples), H (1 sample), and intersubtype recombinant (14 samples). The performances of the individual sequencing primers were examined. Genotyping of duplicate samples in a second laboratory was successful for 124 of the 126 samples. The identity level for the sequence data from two laboratories ranged from 98 to 100% (median, 99.8%). The ViroSeq system performs well for the analysis of plasma samples with diverse non-B subtypes. The availability of this genotyping system should facilitate studies of HIV-1 drug resistance in non-subtype B strains of HIV-1.
doi:10.1128/JCM.42.6.2711-2717.2004
PMCID: PMC427844  PMID: 15184457
12.  Performance of an In-House Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Genotyping System for Assessment of Drug Resistance in Cuba 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0117176.
As commercial human immunodeficiency virus type 1 drug resistance assays are expensive, they are not commonly used in resource-limited settings. Hence, a more affordable in-house procedure was set up taking into account the specific epidemiological and economic circumstances of Cuba. The performance characteristics of the in-house assay were evaluated using clinical samples with various subtypes and resistance patterns. The lower limit of amplification was determined on dilutions series of 20 clinical isolates and ranged from 84 to 529 RNA copies/mL. For the assessment of trueness, 14 clinical samples were analyzed and the ViroSeq HIV-1 Genotyping System v2.0 was used as the reference standard. The mean nucleotide sequence identity between the two assays was 98.7% ± 1.0. Additionally, 99.0% of the amino acids at drug resistance positions were identical. The sensitivity and specificity in detecting drug resistance mutations was respectively 94.1% and 99.5%. Only few discordances in drug resistance interpretation patterns were observed. The repeatability and reproducibility were evaluated using 10 clinical samples with 3 replicates per sample. The in-house test was very precise as nucleotide sequence identity among paired nucleotide sequences ranged from 98.7% to 99.9%. The acceptance criteria were met by the in-house test for all performance characteristics, demonstrating a high degree of accuracy. Subsequently, the applicability in routine clinical practice was evaluated on 380 plasma samples. The amplification success rate was 91% and good quality consensus sequences encoding the entire protease and the first 335 codons in reverse transcriptase could be obtained for 99% of the successful amplicons. The reagent cost per sample using the in-house procedure was around € 80 per genotyping attempt. Overall, the in-house assay provided good results, was feasible with equipment and reagents available in Cuba and was half as expensive as commercial assays.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0117176
PMCID: PMC4324769  PMID: 25671421
13.  Use of Dried-Blood-Spot Samples and In-House Assays To Identify Antiretroviral Drug Resistance in HIV-Infected Children in Resource-Constrained Settings ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(12):4077-4082.
Monitoring HIV drug resistance is an important component of the World Health Organization's global HIV program. HIV drug resistance testing is optimal with commercially available clinically validated test kits using plasma; however, that type of testing may not be feasible or affordable in resource-constrained settings. HIV genotyping from dried blood spots (DBS) with noncommercial (in-house) assays may facilitate the capture of HIV drug resistance outcomes in resource-constrained settings but has had varying rates of success. With in-house assays for HIV reverse transcriptase, we evaluated the yield of genotyping DBS samples collected from HIV-infected children who were enrolled in two clinical trials conducted in sub-Saharan Africa (median HIV viral load, 5.88 log10 HIV RNA copies/ml; range, 4.04 to 6.99). Overall, HIV genotypes were obtained for 94 (89.5%) of 105 samples tested (95% and 84% from clinical trials #1 and #2, respectively); however, successful analysis of 15 (16.1%) of the 94 samples required repeat testing using a different set of primers on previously synthesized cDNA. The yield of genotyping was lower on the DBS that were stored suboptimally from clinical trial #2 (56% versus 88% for optimally stored). Concordance with plasma genotypes derived using a clinically validated, commercial kit-based assay (ViroSeq HIV-1 genotyping system) was also assessed in a subset of children with paired testing. For 34 samples with paired DBS and plasma genotypes, there was 100% concordance for major drug resistance mutations. DBS genotyping using in-house assays provides an alternative for antiretroviral drug resistance testing in children in resource-constrained regions but may require region-specific optimization before widespread use.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01004-11
PMCID: PMC3232965  PMID: 21956987
14.  Affordable in-house antiretroviral drug resistance assay with good performance in non-subtype B HIV-1 
Journal of virological methods  2009;163(2):505-508.
The introduction of antiretroviral therapy in resource-poor settings is effective in suppressing HIV-1 replication and prolonging life of infected individuals. This has led to a demand for affordable HIV-1 drug resistance assays, since treatment failure due to development of drug resistance is common. This study developed and evaluated an affordable “in–house” genotyping assay to monitor HIV-1 drug resistance in Africa, particularly South Africa. An “in-house” assay using automated RNA extraction, and subtype C specific PCR and sequencing primers was developed and successfully evaluated 396 patient samples (viral load ranges 1,000->1.6million RNA copies/ml). The “in-house” assay was validated by comparing sequence data and drug resistance profiles from 90 patient and 10 external quality control samples to data from the ViroSeqTM HIV-1 Genotyping kit. The “in-house” assay was more efficient, amplifying all 100 samples, compared to 91 samples using Viroseq. The “in house” sequences were 99.2%) homologous to the ViroSeq sequences, and identical drug resistance mutation profiles were observed in 96 samples. Furthermore, the “in-house” assay genotyped 260 of 295 samples from seven African sites, where 47% were non-subtype C. Overall, the newly validated “in-house” drug resistance assay is suited for use in Africa as it overcomes the obstacle of subtype diversity.
doi:10.1016/j.jviromet.2009.11.011
PMCID: PMC2932961  PMID: 19917318
HIV-1 subtype C; antiretroviral drug resistance; mutation profile; affordable
15.  Evaluation of Dried Blood Spots Collected on Filter Papers from Three Manufacturers Stored at Ambient Temperature for Application in HIV-1 Drug Resistance Monitoring 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109060.
As more HIV-infected people gain access to antiretroviral therapy (ART), monitoring HIV drug resistance (HIVDR) becomes essential to combat both acquired and transmitted HIVDR. Studies have demonstrated dried blood spots (DBS) are a suitable alternative in HIVDR monitoring using DBS collected on Whatman 903 (W-903). In this study, we sought to evaluate two other commercially available filter papers, Ahlstrom 226 (A-226) and Munktell TFN (M-TFN), for HIVDR genotyping following ambient temperature storage. DBS were prepared from remnant blood specimens collected from 334 ART patients and stored at ambient temperature for a median time of 30 days. HIV-1 viral load was determined using NucliSENS EasyQ® HIV-1 v2.0 RUO test kits prior to genotyping of the protease and reverse transcriptase regions of the HIV-1 pol gene using an in-house assay. Among the DBS tested, 26 specimens had a viral load ≥1000 copies/mL in all three types of filter paper and were included in the genotyping analysis. Genotyping efficiencies were similar between DBS collected on W-903 (92.3%), A-226 (88.5%), and M-TFN (92.3%) filter papers (P = 1.00). We identified 50 DR-associated mutations in DBS collected on W-903, 33 in DBS collected on A-226, and 48 in DBS collected on M-TFN, resulting in mutation detection sensitivities of 66.0% for A-226 and 88.0% for M-TFN when compared to W-903. Our data indicate that differences among filter papers may exist at this storage condition and warrant further studies evaluating filter paper type for HIVDR monitoring.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0109060
PMCID: PMC4193826  PMID: 25303690
16.  HIV-1 drug resistance testing from dried blood spots collected in rural Tanzania using the ViroSeq HIV-1 Genotyping System 
Objectives
To assess whether the commercial ViroSeq HIV-1 Genotyping System (Abbott Molecular, Des Plains, IL, USA) can be used in conjunction with dried blood spots (DBS) for clinical monitoring of drug resistance in patients who fail antiretroviral treatment (ART) in rural Tanzania.
Patients and methods
Patients at Haydom Lutheran Hospital with confirmed treatment failure (viral load >1000 copies/mL) of a first-line ART regimen were selected for resistance testing. DBS were stored with desiccant at −20°C for a median of 126 days (range 0–203) and shipped at ambient temperature for 20 days. After manual extraction of nucleic acids, the ViroSeq kit was used for amplification and sequencing. DBS-derived genotypes were compared with those of a plasma-based assay.
Results
Seventeen of 36 (47%) DBS specimens were successfully genotyped. Only 2 of 16 (13%) DBS with a viral load <10 000 copies/mL could be amplified, compared with 15 of 20 (75%) DBS with a viral load >10 000 copies/mL (P = 0.001). In samples that yielded a sequence, all 23 clinically significant reverse transcriptase (RT) mutations in plasma were also detected in DBS. One RT mutation was found in DBS only. In the protease region, 77 polymorphisms were found in plasma, of which 70 (91%) were also detected in DBS. Sixteen of 17 (94%) patients had identical resistance profiles to antiretroviral drugs in plasma and DBS.
Conclusions
The ViroSeq kit performed well in patients with a high viral load, but failed to genotype most DBS with a viral load <10 000 copies/mL. In DBS that yielded a genotype, there was high concordance with a plasma-based assay.
doi:10.1093/jac/dkq433
PMCID: PMC3019084  PMID: 21115444
HIV infections; antiretroviral therapy; molecular diagnostic techniques; sub-Saharan Africa
17.  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
18.  HIV Drug Resistance (HIVDR) in Antiretroviral Therapy-Naïve Patients in Tanzania Not Eligible for WHO Threshold HIVDR Survey Is Dramatically High 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e23091.
Background
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended guidelines for a HIV drug resistance (HIVDR) survey for resource-limited countries. Eligibility criteria for patients include age below 25 years in order to focus on the prevalence of transmitted HIVDR (tHIVDR) in newly-infected individuals. Most of the participating sites across Africa have so far reported tHIVDR prevalences of below 5%. In this study we investigated whether the rate of HIVDR in patients <25 years is representative for HIVDR in the rest of the therapy-naïve population.
Methods and Findings
HIVDR was determined in 88 sequentially enrolled ART-naïve patients from Mwanza, Tanzania (mean age 35.4 years). Twenty patients were aged <25 years and 68 patients were aged 25–63 years. The frequency of HIVDR in the study population was 14.8% (95%; CI 0.072–0.223) and independent of NVP-resistance induced by prevention of mother-to-child transmission programs. Patients >25 years had a significantly higher HIVDR frequency than younger patients (19.1%; 95% CI 0.095–0.28) versus 0%, P = 0.0344). In 2 out of the 16 patients with HIVDR we found traces of antiretrovirals (ARVs) in plasma.
Conclusions
ART-naïve patients aged over 25 years exhibited significantly higher HIVDR than younger patients. Detection of traces of ARVs in individuals with HIVDR suggests that besides transmission, undisclosed misuse of ARVs may constitute a significant factor in the generation of the observed high HIVDR rate. The current WHO tHIVDR survey that is solely focused on the transmission of HIVDR and that excludes patients over 25 years of age may therefore result in substantial underestimation of the prevalence of HIVDR in the therapy-naïve population. Similar studies should be performed also in other areas to test whether the so far reported optimistic picture of low HIVDR prevalence in young individuals is really representative for the rest of the ART-naïve HIV-infected population.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023091
PMCID: PMC3158766  PMID: 21886779
19.  Field Study of Dried Blood Spot Specimens for HIV-1 Drug Resistance Genotyping 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2014;52(8):2868-2875.
Dried blood spots (DBS) are an alternative specimen type for HIV drug resistance genotyping in resource-limited settings. Data relating to the impact of DBS storage and shipment conditions on genotyping efficiency under field conditions are limited. We compared the genotyping efficiencies and resistance profiles of DBS stored and shipped at different temperatures to those of plasma specimens collected in parallel from patients receiving antiretroviral therapy in Uganda. Plasma and four DBS cards from anti-coagulated venous blood and a fifth card from finger-prick blood were prepared from 103 HIV patients with a median viral load (VL) of 57,062 copies/ml (range, 1,081 to 2,964,191). DBS were stored at ambient temperature for 2 or 4 weeks or frozen at −80°C and shipped from Uganda to the United States at ambient temperature or frozen on dry ice for genotyping using a broadly sensitive in-house method. Plasma (97.1%) and DBS (98.1%) stored and shipped frozen had similar genotyping efficiencies. DBS stored frozen (97.1%) or at ambient temperature for 2 weeks (93.2%) and shipped at ambient temperature also had similar genotyping efficiencies. Genotyping efficiency was reduced for DBS stored at ambient temperature for 4 weeks (89.3%, P = 0.03) or prepared from finger-prick blood and stored at ambient temperature for 2 weeks (77.7%, P < 0.001) compared to DBS prepared from venous blood and handled similarly. Resistance profiles were similar between plasma and DBS specimens. This report delineates the optimal DBS collection, storage, and shipping conditions and opens a new avenue for cost-saving ambient-temperature DBS specimen shipments for HIV drug resistance (HIVDR) surveillances in resource-limited settings.
doi:10.1128/JCM.00544-14
PMCID: PMC4136191  PMID: 24871219
20.  Sensitivity and Specificity of the ViroSeq Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) Genotyping System for Detection of HIV-1 Drug Resistance Mutations by Use of an ABI PRISM 3100 Genetic Analyzer 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2005;43(2):813-817.
The ViroSeq human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) genotyping system is an integrated system for identification of drug resistance mutations in HIV-1 protease and reverse transcriptase (RT). Reagents are included for sample preparation, reverse transcription, PCR amplification, and sequencing. Software is provided to assemble and edit sequence data and to generate a drug resistance report. We determined the sensitivity and specificity of the ViroSeq system for mutation detection using an ABI PRISM 3100 genetic analyzer with a set of clinical samples and recombinant viruses. Twenty clinical plasma samples (viral loads, 1,800 to 10,500 copies/ml) were characterized by cloning and sequencing individual viral variants. Twelve recombinant-virus samples (viral loads, approximately 2,000 to 5,000 copies/ml) were also prepared. Eleven recombinant-virus samples contained drug resistance mutations as 40% mixtures. One recombinant-virus sample contained an insertion at codon 69 in RT (100% mutant). Plasma and recombinant-virus samples were analyzed using the ViroSeq system. Each sample was analyzed on three consecutive days at each of three testing laboratories. The sensitivity of mutation detection was 99.65% for the clinical plasma samples and 99.7% for the recombinant-virus preparations. The specificity of mutation detection was 99.95% for the clinical samples and 100% for the recombinant-virus mixtures. The base calling accuracy of the 3100 instrument was 99.91%. Mutations in clinical plasma samples and recombinant-virus samples were detected with high sensitivity and specificity, including mutations present as mixtures. This report supports the use of the ViroSeq system for identification of drug resistance mutations in HIV-1 protease and RT genes.
doi:10.1128/JCM.43.2.813-817.2005
PMCID: PMC548107  PMID: 15695685
21.  A comparative analysis of HIV drug resistance interpretation based on short reverse transcriptase sequences versus full sequences 
Background
As second-line antiretroviral treatment (ART) becomes more accessible in resource-limited settings (RLS), the need for more affordable monitoring tools such as point-of-care viral load assays and simplified genotypic HIV drug resistance (HIVDR) tests increases substantially. The prohibitive expenses of genotypic HIVDR assays could partly be addressed by focusing on a smaller region of the HIV reverse transcriptase gene (RT) that encompasses the majority of HIVDR mutations for people on ART in RLS. In this study, an in silico analysis of 125,329 RT sequences was performed to investigate the effect of submitting short RT sequences (codon 41 to 238) to the commonly used virco®TYPE and Stanford genotype interpretation tools.
Results
Pair-wise comparisons between full-length and short RT sequences were performed. Additionally, a non-inferiority approach with a concordance limit of 95% and two-sided 95% confidence intervals was used to demonstrate concordance between HIVDR calls based on full-length and short RT sequences.
The results of this analysis showed that HIVDR interpretations based on full-length versus short RT sequences, using the Stanford algorithms, had concordance significantly above 95%. When using the virco®TYPE algorithm, similar concordance was demonstrated (>95%), but some differences were observed for d4T, AZT and TDF, where predictions were affected in more than 5% of the sequences. Most differences in interpretation, however, were due to shifts from fully susceptible to reduced susceptibility (d4T) or from reduced response to minimal response (AZT, TDF) or vice versa, as compared to the predicted full RT sequence. The virco®TYPE prediction uses many more mutations outside the RT 41-238 amino acid domain, which significantly contribute to the HIVDR prediction for these 3 antiretroviral agents.
Conclusions
This study illustrates the acceptability of using a shortened RT sequences (codon 41-238) to obtain reliable genotype interpretations by virco®TYPE and Stanford algorithms. Implementation of this simplified protocol could significantly reduce the cost of both resistance testing and ARV treatment monitoring in RLS.
doi:10.1186/1742-6405-7-38
PMCID: PMC2984380  PMID: 20950432
22.  Evaluation of two human immunodeficiency virus-1 genotyping systems: ViroSeq™ 2.0 and an in-house method 
Journal of virological methods  2009;159(2):211-216.
Commercial HIV-1 genotypic resistance assays are very expensive, particularly for use in resource-constrained settings like India. Hence a cost effective in-house assay for drug resistance was validated against the standard ViroSeq™ HIV-1 Genotyping System 2.0 (Celera Diagnostics, CA, USA). A total of 50 samples were used for this evaluation (21 proficiency panels and 29 clinical isolates). Known resistance positions within HIV-1 protease (PR) region (1–99 codons) and HIV-1 reverse-transcriptase (RT) region (1–240 codons) were included. The results were analysed for each codon as follows: (i) concordant; (ii) partially concordant; (iii) indeterminate and (iv) discordant. A total of 2750 codons (55 codons per patient sample × 50 samples) associated with drug resistance (1050 PR and 1700 RT) were analysed. For PR, 99% of the codon results were concordant and 1% were partially concordant. For RT, 99% of the codon results were concordant, 0.9% were partially concordant and 0.1% were discordant. No indeterminate results were observed and the results were reproducible. Overall, the in-house assay provided comparable results to those of US FDA approved ViroSeq™, which costs about a half of the commercial assay ($ 100 vs. $ 230), making it suitable for resource-limited settings.
doi:10.1016/j.jviromet.2009.03.021
PMCID: PMC2923210  PMID: 19490976
ViroSeq™ HIV-1 genotyping; In-house HIV-1 drug resistance assay; Concordance; Mixtures; Indeterminate rate; HIV-1 genotyping evaluation
23.  Prevention of mother-to-child HIV-1 transmission in Burkina Faso: evaluation of vertical transmission by PCR, molecular characterization of subtypes and determination of antiretroviral drugs resistance 
Global Health Action  2015;8:10.3402/gha.v8.26065.
Background
Vertical human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission is a public health problem in Burkina Faso. The main objective of this study on the prevention of mother-to-child HIV-1 transmission was to determine the residual risk of HIV transmission in infants born to mothers receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Moreover, we detect HIV antiretroviral (ARV) drug resistance among mother–infant pairs and identify subtypes and circulating recombinant forms (CRF) in Burkina Faso.
Design
In this study, 3,215 samples of pregnant women were analyzed for HIV using rapid tests. Vertical transmission was estimated by polymerase chain reaction in 6-month-old infants born to women who tested HIV positive. HIV-1 resistance to ARV, subtypes, and CRFs was determined through ViroSeq kit using the ABI PRISM 3,130 sequencer.
Results
In this study, 12.26% (394/3,215) of the pregnant women were diagnosed HIV positive. There was 0.52% (2/388) overall vertical transmission of HIV, with rates of 1.75% (2/114) among mothers under prophylaxis and 0.00% (0/274) for those under HAART. Genetic mutations were also isolated that induce resistance to ARV such as M184V, Y115F, K103N, Y181C, V179E, and G190A. There were subtypes and CRF of HIV-1 present, the most common being: CRF06_CPX (58.8%), CRF02_AG (35.3%), and subtype G (5.9%).
Conclusions
ARV drugs reduce the residual rate of HIV vertical transmission. However, the virus has developed resistance to ARV, which could limit future therapeutic options when treatment is needed. Resistance to ARV therefore requires a permanent interaction between researchers, physicians, and pharmacists, to strengthen the network of monitoring and surveillance of drug resistance in Burkina Faso.
doi:10.3402/gha.v8.26065
PMCID: PMC4309832  PMID: 25630709
pregnant women; HAART; sequencing; genotypes; mutations
24.  Field Evaluation of Dried Blood Spots for Routine HIV-1 Viral Load and Drug Resistance Monitoring in Patients Receiving Antiretroviral Therapy in Africa and Asia 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2014;52(2):578-586.
Dried blood spots (DBS) can be used in developing countries to alleviate the logistic constraints of using blood plasma specimens for viral load (VL) and HIV drug resistance (HIVDR) testing, but they should be assessed under field conditions. Between 2009 and 2011, we collected paired plasma-DBS samples from treatment-experienced HIV-1-infected adults in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Senegal, Togo, Thailand, and Vietnam. The DBS were stored at an ambient temperature for 2 to 4 weeks and subsequently at −20°C before testing. VL testing was performed on the plasma samples and DBS using locally available methods: the Abbott m2000rt HIV-1 test, generic G2 real-time PCR, or the NucliSENS EasyQ version 1.2 test. In the case of virological failure (VF), i.e., a plasma VL of ≥1,000 copies/ml, HIVDR genotyping was performed on paired plasma-DBS samples. Overall, we compared 382 plasma-DBS sample pairs for DBS VL testing accuracy. The sensitivities of the different assays in different laboratories for detecting VF using DBS varied from 75% to 100% for the m2000rt test in labs B, C, and D, 91% to 93% for generic G2 real-time PCR in labs A and F, and 85% for the NucliSENS test in lab E. The specificities varied from 82% to 97% for the m2000rt and NucliSENS tests and reached only 60% for the generic G2 test. The NucliSENS test showed good agreement between plasma and DBS VL but underestimated the DBS VL. The lowest agreement was observed for the generic G2 test. Genotyping was successful for 96/124 (77%) DBS tested, and 75/96 (78%) plasma-DBS pairs had identical HIVDR mutations. Significant discrepancies in resistance interpretations were observed in 9 cases, 6 of which were from the same laboratory. DBS can be successfully used as an alternative to blood plasma samples for routine VL and HIVDR monitoring in African and Asian settings. However, the selection of an adequate VL measurement method and the definition of the VF threshold should be considered, and laboratory performance should be monitored.
doi:10.1128/JCM.02860-13
PMCID: PMC3911301  PMID: 24478491
25.  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.
Background
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.
Methods
We tested plasma HIV using a genotyping assay (ViroSeq), a phenotypic resistance assay (PhenoSense), and sensitive point mutation assay (LigAmp, for K103N, Y181C, G190A).
Results
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).
Conclusions
Use of extended NVP prophylaxis was associated with increased selection and persistence of NVP resistance in HIV-infected Ugandan infants.
doi:10.1086/591503
PMCID: PMC2587235  PMID: 18684096
HIV-1; infant; mother-to-child transmission; nevirapine; resistance

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