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1.  N348I in the Connection Domain of HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase Confers Zidovudine and Nevirapine Resistance 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(12):e335.
Background
The catalytically active 66-kDa subunit of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcriptase (RT) consists of DNA polymerase, connection, and ribonuclease H (RNase H) domains. Almost all known RT inhibitor resistance mutations identified to date map to the polymerase domain of the enzyme. However, the connection and RNase H domains are not routinely analysed in clinical samples and none of the genotyping assays available for patient management sequence the entire RT coding region. The British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (the Centre) genotypes clinical isolates up to codon 400 in RT, and our retrospective statistical analyses of the Centre's database have identified an N348I mutation in the RT connection domain in treatment-experienced individuals. The objective of this multidisciplinary study was to establish the in vivo relevance of this mutation and its role in drug resistance.
Methods and Findings
The prevalence of N348I in clinical isolates, the time taken for it to emerge under selective drug pressure, and its association with changes in viral load, specific drug treatment, and known drug resistance mutations was analysed from genotypes, viral loads, and treatment histories from the Centre's database. N348I increased in prevalence from below 1% in 368 treatment-naïve individuals to 12.1% in 1,009 treatment-experienced patients (p = 7.7 × 10−12). N348I appeared early in therapy and was highly associated with thymidine analogue mutations (TAMs) M41L and T215Y/F (p < 0.001), the lamivudine resistance mutations M184V/I (p < 0.001), and non-nucleoside RTI (NNRTI) resistance mutations K103N and Y181C/I (p < 0.001). The association with TAMs and NNRTI resistance mutations was consistent with the selection of N348I in patients treated with regimens that included both zidovudine and nevirapine (odds ratio 2.62, 95% confidence interval 1.43–4.81). The appearance of N348I was associated with a significant increase in viral load (p < 0.001), which was as large as the viral load increases observed for any of the TAMs. However, this analysis did not account for the simultaneous selection of other RT or protease inhibitor resistance mutations on viral load. To delineate the role of this mutation in RT inhibitor resistance, N348I was introduced into HIV-1 molecular clones containing different genetic backbones. N348I decreased zidovudine susceptibility 2- to 4-fold in the context of wild-type HIV-1 or when combined with TAMs. N348I also decreased susceptibility to nevirapine (7.4-fold) and efavirenz (2.5-fold) and significantly potentiated resistance to these drugs when combined with K103N. Biochemical analyses of recombinant RT containing N348I provide supporting evidence for the role of this mutation in zidovudine and NNRTI resistance and give some insight into the molecular mechanism of resistance.
Conclusions
This study provides the first in vivo evidence that treatment with RT inhibitors can select a mutation (i.e., N348I) outside the polymerase domain of the HIV-1 RT that confers dual-class resistance. Its emergence, which can happen early during therapy, may significantly impact on a patient's response to antiretroviral therapies containing zidovudine and nevirapine. This study also provides compelling evidence for investigating the role of other mutations in the connection and RNase H domains in virological failure.
Analyzing HIV sequences from a Canadian cohort, Gilda Tachedjian and colleagues identify a common mutation in a little-studied domain of reverse transcriptase that confers resistance to two drug classes.
Editors' Summary
Background.
In the 1980s, infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), was a death sentence. Although the first antiretroviral drugs (compounds that block HIV's life cycle) were developed quickly, single antiretrovirals only transiently suppress HIV infection. HIV rapidly accumulates random changes (mutations) in its genetic material, some of which make it drug resistant. Nowadays, there are many different antiretrovirals. Some inhibit the viral protease, an enzyme used to assemble new viruses. Others block reverse transcriptase (RT), which makes replicates of the genes of the virus. Nucleoside/nucleotide RT inhibitors (NRTIs; for example, zidovudine—also called AZT—and lamivudine) and non-nucleoside RT inhibitors (NNRTIs; for example, nevirapine and efavirenz) interfere with the activity of RT by binding to different sites in its so-called “DNA polymerase domain,” the part of the enzyme that constructs copies of the viral genes. Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), which was introduced in the mid 1990s, combines several antiretrovirals (usually a protease inhibitor and two NRTIs or an NNRTI and two NRTIs) so that the replication of any virus that develops resistance to one drug is inhibited by the other drugs in the mix. When treated with HAART, HIV infection is usually a chronic, stable condition rather than a fatal disease.
Why Was This Study Done?
Unfortunately, HIV that is resistant to drugs still develops in some patients. To improve the prevention and management of drug resistance, a better understanding of the mutations that cause resistance is needed. Resistance to RT inhibitors usually involves mutations in the DNA polymerase domain that reduce the efficacy of NRTIs (including thymidine analogue mutations—also known as TAMs—and lamivudine-resistance mutations) and NNRTIs. Blood tests that detect these resistance mutations (genotype tests) have been used for several years to guide individualized selection of HIV drugs. Recently, however, mutations outside the DNA polymerase domain have also been implicated in resistance to RT inhibitors. In this study, the researchers have used data and samples collected since the mid 1990s by Canada's British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS to investigate the clinical relevance of a mutation called N348I. This mutation changes an asparagine (a type of amino acid) to an isoleucine in a region of RT known as the connection domain. The researchers have also investigated how this mutation causes resistance to RT inhibitors in laboratory tests.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed the first two-thirds of the RT gene in viruses isolated from a large number of the Centre's patients. Virus carrying the N348I mutation was present in less than one in 100 patients whose HIV infection had never been treated, but in more than one in 10 treatment-experienced patients. The mutation appeared early in therapy, often in viruses that had TAMs, a lamivudine-resistance mutation called M184V/I, and/or NNRTI resistance mutations. Patients treated with zidovudine and nevirapine were 2.6 times more likely to have the N348I mutation than patients not treated with these drugs. Furthermore, the appearance of the N348I mutation often coincided with an increase in viral load, although other mutations that appeared at a similar time could have contributed to this increase. When the researchers introduced the N348I mutation into HIV growing in the laboratory, they found that it decreased the susceptibility of the virus to zidovudine and to NNRTIs.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that the treatment of patients with RT inhibitors can select a drug-resistant HIV variant that has a mutation outside the enzyme's DNA polymerase domain. Because this N348I mutation, which is commonly selected in vivo and has also been seen in other studies, confers resistance to two classes of RT inhibitors and can emerge early during therapy, it could have a large impact on patient responses to antiviral regimens that contain zidovudine and nevirapine. Although these findings do not show that the N348I mutation alone causes treatment failure, they may have implications for genotypic and phenotypic resistance testing, which is often used to guide treatment decisions. At present, genotype tests for resistance to RT inhibitors look for mutations only in the DNA polymerase domain of RT. This study is the first to demonstrate that it might be worth looking for the N348I mutation (and for other mutations outside the DNA polymerase domain) to improve the ability of genotypic and phenotypic resistance tests to predict treatment outcomes.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040335.
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including links to fact sheets (in English, French, and Spanish) about antiretrovirals, and chapters explaining antiretroviral resistance testing
NAM, a UK registered charity, provides information about all aspects of HIV and AIDS, including fact sheets on types of HIV drugs, drug resistance, and resistance tests (in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Russian)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on HIV/AIDS and on treatment (in English and Spanish)
AIDSinfo, a service of the US Department of Health and Human Services provides information for patients on HIV and its treatment
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040335
PMCID: PMC2100143  PMID: 18052601
2.  HIV-1 Drug Resistance Emergence among Breastfeeding Infants Born to HIV-Infected Mothers during a Single-Arm Trial of Triple-Antiretroviral Prophylaxis for Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission: A Secondary Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(3):e1000430.
Analysis of a substudy of the Kisumu breastfeeding trial by Clement Zeh and colleagues reveals the emergence of HIV drug resistance in HIV-positive infants born to HIV-infected mothers treated with antiretroviral drugs.
Background
Nevirapine and lamivudine given to mothers are transmitted to infants via breastfeeding in quantities sufficient to have biologic effects on the virus; this may lead to an increased risk of a breastfed infant's development of resistance to maternal antiretrovirals. The Kisumu Breastfeeding Study (KiBS), a single-arm open-label prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) trial, assessed the safety and efficacy of zidovudine, lamivudine, and either nevirapine or nelfinavir given to HIV-infected women from 34 wk gestation through 6 mo of breastfeeding. Here, we present findings from a KiBS trial secondary analysis that evaluated the emergence of maternal ARV-associated resistance among 32 HIV-infected breastfed infants.
Methods and Findings
All infants in the cohort were tested for HIV infection using DNA PCR at multiple study visits during the 24 mo of the study, and plasma RNA viral load for all HIV-PCR–positive infants was evaluated retrospectively. Specimens from mothers and infants with viral load >1,000 copies/ml were tested for HIV drug resistance mutations. Overall, 32 infants were HIV infected by 24 mo of age, and of this group, 24 (75%) infants were HIV infected by 6 mo of age. Of the 24 infants infected by 6 mo, nine were born to mothers on a nelfinavir-based regimen, whereas the remaining 15 were born to mothers on a nevirapine-based regimen. All infants were also given single-dose nevirapine within 48 hours of birth. We detected genotypic resistance mutations in none of eight infants who were HIV-PCR positive by 2 wk of age (specimens from six infants were not amplifiable), for 30% (6/20) at 6 wk, 63% (14/22) positive at 14 wk, and 67% (16/24) at 6 mo post partum. Among the 16 infants with resistance mutations by 6 mo post partum, the common mutations were M184V and K103N, conferring resistance to lamivudine and nevirapine, respectively. Genotypic resistance was detected among 9/9 (100%) and 7/15 (47%) infected infants whose mothers were on nelfinavir and nevirapine, respectively. No mutations were detected among the eight infants infected after the breastfeeding period (age 6 mo).
Conclusions
Emergence of HIV drug resistance mutations in HIV-infected infants occurred between 2 wk and 6 mo post partum, most likely because of exposure to maternal ARV drugs through breast milk. Our findings may impact the choice of regimen for ARV treatment of HIV-infected breastfeeding mothers and their infected infants.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00146380
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Globally, more than 2 million children are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and half a million children are newly infected every year. These infections are mainly the result of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or through breastfeeding. MTCT can be greatly reduced by treating HIV-positive mothers and their babies with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs). Without ARVs, up to half of babies born to HIV-positive mothers become infected with HIV. This rate of transmission falls to below 5% if a combination of three ARVs is given to the mother throughout pregnancy. Unfortunately, this triple-ARV therapy is too expensive for use in the resource-limited countries where most MTCT occurs. Instead, many such countries have introduced simpler, shorter ARV regimens such as a daily dose of zidovudine (a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor or NRTI) given to HIV-positive women during late pregnancy coupled with single-dose nevirapine (a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor or NNRTI) at the onset of labor, zidovudine and lamivudine (another NRTI) during labor and delivery, and single-dose nevirapine given to the baby at birth.
Why Was This Study Done?
More than 95% of HIV-exposed children are born in resource-limited settings where breastfeeding is the norm and is crucial for child survival even though it poses a risk of HIV transmission. Consequently, several recent studies have investigated whether MTCT can be further reduced by giving the mother ARVs while she is breastfeeding. In the Kisumu Breastfeeding Study (KiBS), for example, researchers assessed the effects of giving zidovudine, lamivudine, and either nevirapine or nelfinavir (a protease inhibitor) to HIV-infected women from 34 weeks of pregnancy through 6 months of breastfeeding. The results of KiBS indicate that this approach might be a safe, feasible way to reduce MTCT (see the accompanying paper by Thomas and colleagues). However, low amounts of nevirapine and lamivudine are transferred from mother to infant in breast milk and this exposure to ARVs could induce the development of resistance to ARVs among HIV-infected infants. In this KiBS substudy, the researchers investigate whether HIV drug resistance emerged in any of the HIV-positive infants in the parent study.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In KiBS, 32 infants were HIV-positive at 24 months old; 24 were HIV-positive at 6 months old when their mothers stopped taking ARVs and when breastfeeding was supposed to stop. The researchers analyzed blood samples taken from these infants at various ages and from their mothers for the presence of HIV drug resistance mutations (DNA changes that make HIV resistant to killing by ARVs). They detected no resistance mutations in samples taken from 2-week old HIV-positive infants or from the infants who became infected after the age of 6 months. However, they found resistance mutations in a third and two-thirds of samples taken from 6-week and 6-month old HIV-positive infants, respectively. The commonest mutations conferred resistance to lamivudine and nevirapine. Moreover, resistance mutations were present in samples taken from all the HIV-positive infants whose mothers who had received nelfinavir but in only half those taken from infants whose mothers who had received nevirapine. Finally, most of the mothers of HIV-positive infants had no HIV drug resistance mutations, and only one mother-infant pair had an overlapping pattern of HIV drug resistance mutations.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that, in this KiBS substudy, the emergence of HIV drug resistance mutations in HIV-infected infants whose mothers were receiving ARVs occurred between 2 weeks and 6 months after birth. The pattern of mutations suggests that drug resistance most likely arose through exposure of the infants to low levels of ARVs in breast milk rather than through MTCT of drug-resistant virus. These findings need confirming but suggest that infants exposed to ARVs through breast milk—a situation that may become increasingly common given the reduction in MTCT seen in KiBS and other similar trials—should be carefully monitored for HIV infection. Providers should consider the mothers' regimen when choosing treatment for infants who are found to be HIV-infected despite maternal triple drug prophylaxis. Infants exposed to a maternal regimen with NNRTI drugs should receive first-line therapy with lopinavir/ritonavir, a protease inhibitor. The significance of the NRTI mutations such as M184V with regard to response to therapy needs further evaluation. The M184V mutation may result in hypersensitization to other NRTI drugs and delay or reverse zidovudine resistance. Given the limited availability of alternative drugs for infants in resource-limited settings, provision of the standard WHO-recommended first-line NRTI backbone, which includes 3TC, with enhanced monitoring of the infant to ensure virologic suppression, could be considered. Such an approach should reduce both illness and morbidity among infants who become HIV positive through breastfeeding.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000430.
The accompanying PLoS Medicine Research article by Thomas and colleagues describes the primary findings of the Kisumu Breastfeeding Study
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on HIV/AIDS
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on children, HIV, and AIDS and on preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV (in English and Spanish)
UNICEF also has information about children and HIV and AIDS (in several languages)
The World Health organization has information on mother-to-child transmission of HIV (in several languages), and guidance on the use of ARVs for preventing MTCT
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000430
PMCID: PMC3066134  PMID: 21468304
3.  Transmitted Drug Resistance in the CFAR Network of Integrated Clinical Systems Cohort: Prevalence and Effects on Pre-Therapy CD4 and Viral Load 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e21189.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) genomes often carry one or more mutations associated with drug resistance upon transmission into a therapy-naïve individual. We assessed the prevalence and clinical significance of transmitted drug resistance (TDR) in chronically-infected therapy-naïve patients enrolled in a multi-center cohort in North America. Pre-therapy clinical significance was quantified by plasma viral load (pVL) and CD4+ cell count (CD4) at baseline. Naïve bulk sequences of HIV-1 protease and reverse transcriptase (RT) were screened for resistance mutations as defined by the World Health Organization surveillance list. The overall prevalence of TDR was 14.2%. We used a Bayesian network to identify co-transmission of TDR mutations in clusters associated with specific drugs or drug classes. Aggregate effects of mutations by drug class were estimated by fitting linear models of pVL and CD4 on weighted sums over TDR mutations according to the Stanford HIV Database algorithm. Transmitted resistance to both classes of reverse transcriptase inhibitors was significantly associated with lower CD4, but had opposing effects on pVL. In contrast, position-specific analyses of TDR mutations revealed substantial effects on CD4 and pVL at several residue positions that were being masked in the aggregate analyses, and significant interaction effects as well. Residue positions in RT with predominant effects on CD4 or pVL (D67 and M184) were re-evaluated in causal models using an inverse probability-weighting scheme to address the problem of confounding by other mutations and demographic or risk factors. We found that causal effect estimates of mutations M184V/I ( pVL) and D67N/G ( and pVL) were compensated by K103N/S and K219Q/E/N/R. As TDR becomes an increasing dilemma in this modern era of highly-active antiretroviral therapy, these results have immediate significance for the clinical management of HIV-1 infections and our understanding of the ongoing adaptation of HIV-1 to human populations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021189
PMCID: PMC3118815  PMID: 21701595
4.  Emergence of Drug Resistance Is Associated with an Increased Risk of Death among Patients First Starting HAART 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(9):e356.
Background
The impact of the emergence of drug-resistance mutations on mortality is not well characterized in antiretroviral-naïve patients first starting highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Patients may be able to sustain immunologic function with resistant virus, and there is limited evidence that reduced sensitivity to antiretrovirals leads to rapid disease progression or death. We undertook the present analysis to characterize the determinants of mortality in a prospective cohort study with a median of nearly 5 y of follow-up. The objective of this study was to determine the impact of the emergence of drug-resistance mutations on survival among persons initiating HAART.
Methods and Findings
Participants were antiretroviral therapy naïve at entry and initiated triple combination antiretroviral therapy between August 1, 1996, and September 30, 1999. Marginal structural modeling was used to address potential confounding between time-dependent variables in the Cox proportional hazard regression models. In this analysis resistance to any class of drug was considered as a binary time-dependent exposure to the risk of death, controlling for the effect of other time-dependent confounders. We also considered each separate class of mutation as a binary time-dependent exposure, while controlling for the presence/absence of other mutations. A total of 207 deaths were identified among 1,138 participants over the follow-up period, with an all cause mortality rate of 18.2%. Among the 679 patients with HIV-drug-resistance genotyping done before initiating HAART, HIV-drug resistance to any class was observed in 53 (7.8%) of the patients. During follow-up, HIV-drug resistance to any class was observed in 302 (26.5%) participants. Emergence of any resistance was associated with mortality (hazard ratio: 1.75 [95% confidence interval: 1.27, 2.43]). When we considered each class of resistance separately, persons who exhibited resistance to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors had the highest risk: mortality rates were 3.02 times higher (95% confidence interval: 1.99, 4.57) for these patients than for those who did not exhibit this type of resistance.
Conclusions
We demonstrated that emergence of resistance to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors was associated with a greater risk of subsequent death than was emergence of protease inhibitor resistance. Future research is needed to identify the particular subpopulations of men and women at greatest risk and to elucidate the impact of resistance over a longer follow-up period.
Emergence of resistance to both non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and protease inhibitors was associated with a higher risk of subsequent death, but the risk was greater in patients with NNRTI-resistant HIV.
Editors' Summary
Background.
In the 1980s, infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was effectively a death sentence. HIV causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) by replicating inside immune system cells and destroying them, which leaves infected individuals unable to fight off other viruses and bacteria. The first antiretroviral drugs were developed quickly, but it soon became clear that single antiretrovirals only transiently suppress HIV infection. HIV mutates (accumulates random changes to its genetic material) very rapidly and, although most of these changes (or mutations) are bad for the virus, by chance some make it drug resistant. Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), which was introduced in the mid-1990s, combines three or four antiretroviral drugs that act at different stages of the viral life cycle. For example, they inhibit the reverse transcriptase that the virus uses to replicate its genetic material, or the protease that is necessary to assemble new viruses. With HAART, the replication of any virus that develops resistance to one drug is inhibited by the other drugs in the mix. As a consequence, for many individuals with access to HAART, AIDS has become a chronic rather than a fatal disease. However, being on HAART requires patients to take several pills a day at specific times. In addition, the drugs in the HAART regimens often have side effects.
Why Was This Study Done?
Drug resistance still develops even with HAART, often because patients don't stick to the complicated regimens. The detection of resistance to one drug is usually the prompt to change a patient's drug regimen to head off possible treatment failure. Although most patients treated with HAART live for many years, some still die from AIDS. We don't know much about how the emergence of drug-resistance mutations affects mortality in patients who are starting antiretroviral therapy for the first time. In this study, the researchers looked at how the emergence of drug resistance affected survival in a group of HIV/AIDS patients in British Columbia, Canada. Here, everyone with HIV/AIDS has access to free medical attention, HAART, and laboratory monitoring, and full details of all HAART recipients are entered into a central reporting system.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers enrolled people who started antiretroviral therapy for the first time between August 1996 and September 1999 into the HAART Observational Medical Evaluation and Research (HOMER) cohort. They then excluded anyone who was infected with already drug-resistant HIV strains (based on the presence of drug-resistance mutations in viruses isolated from the patients) at the start of therapy. The remaining 1,138 patients were followed for an average of five years. All the patients received either two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and a protease inhibitor, or two nucleoside and one non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI). Nearly a fifth of the study participants died during the follow-up period. Most of these patients actually had drug-sensitive viruses, possibly because they had neglected taking their drugs to such an extent that there had been insufficient drug exposure to select for drug-resistant viruses. In a quarter of the patients, however, HIV strains resistant to one or more antiretroviral drugs emerged during the study (again judged by looking for mutations). Detailed statistical analyses indicated that the emergence of any drug resistance nearly doubled the risk of patients dying, and that people carrying viruses resistant to NNRTIs were three times as likely to die as those without resistance to this class of antiretroviral drug.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These results provide new information about the emergence of drug-resistant HIV during HAART and possible effects on the long-term survival of patients. In particular, they suggest that clinicians should watch carefully for the emergence of resistance to NNRTIs in their patients. Because this type of resistance is often due to poor adherence to drug regimens, these results also suggest that increased efforts should be made to ensure that patients comply with the prescribed HAART regimens, especially those whose antiretroviral therapy includes NNRTIs. As with all studies in which a group of individuals who share a common characteristic are studied over time, it is possible that some other, unmeasured difference between the patients who died and those who didn't—rather than emerging drug resistance—is responsible for the observed differences in survival. Additional studies are needed to confirm the findings here, and to investigate whether specific subpopulations of patients are at particular risk of developing drug resistance and/or dying during HAART.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030356.
US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases fact sheet on HIV infection and AIDS
US Department of Health and Human Services information on AIDS, including details of approved drugs for the treatment of HIV infection
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information on HIV/AIDS
Aidsmap, information on HIV and AIDS provided by the charity NAM, which includes details on antiretroviral drugs
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030356
PMCID: PMC1569883  PMID: 16984218
5.  Genetic diversity and drug resistance among newly diagnosed and antiretroviral treatment-naive HIV-infected individuals in western Yunnan: a hot area of viral recombination in China 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:382.
Background
The emergence of an HIV-1 epidemic in China was first recognized in Dehong, western Yunnan. Due to its geographic location, Dehong contributed greatly in bridging HIV-1 epidemics in Southeast Asia and China through drug trafficking and injection drug use; and also extensively to the HIV genetic diversity in Yunnan and China. We attempt to monitor HIV-1 in this area by studying the HIV-1 genetic distribution and transmitted drug resistance (TDR) in various at-risk populations.
Methods
Blood samples from a total of 320 newly HIV-1 diagnosed individuals, who were antiretroviral therapy (ART)-naive, were collected from January 2009 to December 2010 in 2 counties in Dehong. HIV-1 subtypes and pol gene drug resistance (DR) mutations were genotyped.
Results
Among 299 pol sequences successfully genotyped (93.4%), subtype C accounted for 43.1% (n=129), unique recombinant forms (URFs) for 18.4% (n=55), CRF01_AE for 17.7% (n=54), B for 10.7% (n=32), CRF08_BC for 8.4% (n=25) and CRF07_BC for 1.7% (n=5). Subtype distribution in patients infected by different transmission routes varied. In contract to the previous finding of CRF01_AE predominance in 2002-2006, subtype C predominated in both injecting drug users (IDUs) and heterosexually transmitted populations in this study. Furthermore, we found a high level of BC, CRF01_AE/C and CRF01_AE/B/C recombinants suggesting the presence of active viral recombination in the area. TDR associated mutations were identified in 4.3% (n=13) individuals. A total of 1.3% of DR were related to protease inhibitors (PIs), including I85IV, M46I and L90M; 0.3% to nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), including M184I; and 2.7% to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), including K103N/S, Y181C, K101E and G190A.
Conclusion
Our work revealed diverse HIV-1 subtype distributions and intersubtype recombinations. We also identified a low but significant TDR mutation rate among ART-naive patients. These findings enhance our understanding of HIV-1 evolution and are valuable for the development and implementation of a comprehensive public health approach to HIV-1 DR prevention and treatment in the region.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-382
PMCID: PMC3552723  PMID: 23270497
HIV-1; Genetic diversity; Drug resistance; Injecting drug use; Dehong; China
6.  The Relationship Between Resistance and Adherence in Drug-Naive Individuals Initiating HAART Is Specific to Individual Drug Classes 
Objective
To investigate the relationship between HIV-1 drug resistance and adherence and the accumulation rate of resistance mutations in 1191 HIV-infected, antiretroviral-naive adults initiating highly active antiretroviral therapy in British Columbia, Canada.
Methods
Plasma samples with plasma viral load >1000 copies per milliliter collected within 30 months of follow-up were genotyped for drug resistance. Adherence was estimated using prescription refills and plasma drug levels. The primary outcome measure was time to detection of drug resistance. Cox proportional hazard regression was used to calculate hazard ratios (HRs) associated with baseline variables.
Results
The accumulation rates of multiple primary and secondary mutations were similar in patients initiating highly active antiretroviral therapy with protease inhibitor versus nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI). Rates decreased approximately 50% per additional mutation. At 80%–90% adherence based on refills, there was greater risk of detecting lamivudine (3TC) [HR 3.0, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.9 to 4.7; P < 0.0001] and NNRTI mutations (HR 6.0, 95% CI: 3.3 to 10.9; P < 0.0001) compared with the ≥95% refill reference group. In a multivariate model, individuals with <95% refills and consistently detectable plasma drug levels were at increased risk for 3TC (HR 4.5, 95% CI: 2.6 to 7.9; P = 0.0001) and NNRTI resistance (HR 7.0, 95% CI: 3.4 to 14.5; P = 0.0001) compared with the reference group of ≥95% refills with consistently detectable drug levels. Adherence–resistance relationships were much weaker for protease inhibitors and nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors as there was little variance in HRs among the different adherence strata compared with 3TC and NNRTIs.
Conclusion
The relationships between resistance, adherence, and mutation accumulation differ between HIV drug classes.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e318189a753
PMCID: PMC3606960  PMID: 18845950
adherence; HAART; HIV-1 drug resistance; mutations
7.  Transmitted antiretroviral drug resistance in treatment naïve HIV-infected persons in London in 2011 to 2013 
Journal of the International AIDS Society  2014;17(4Suppl 3):19747.
Introduction
Previously published UK data on HIV transmitted drug resistance (TDR) shows that it ranges between 3 and 9.4% [1,2]. However, there are no recent data from populations where HIV transmission rates are increasing. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of TDR in untreated HIV-infected individuals attending three HIV specialist clinics under the HIV Directorate, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and based throughout London – the Kobler Clinic, 56 Dean Street and West London Centre for Sexual Health.
Methods
We included all patients with a HIV diagnosis, no history of antiretroviral therapy (ART) intake, attending one of the three clinics (Kobler (K), 56 Dean Street (DS) and West London (WL)), between 2011 and 2013 who started antiretrovirals. Reverse transcriptase (RT) and protease region sequencing was performed using Vircotype virtual phenotype resistance analysis. Drug resistance mutations were identified according to Stanford University HIV Drug Resistance Database (http://hivdb.stanford.edu/).
Results
Among 1705 HIV-1-infected patients enrolled in the study, 1252 were males (919 were MSM), 107 were females and 346 had no gender recorded. Ethnicity was 51.1% white British/Irish/other, 6.1% African, 2.1% Caribbean, 2.8% Asian, 1.3% Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi, 4.2%, other, 3.2% not stated, and 29.2% unknown. 547 were from K (84.3% males, 48.3% MSM), 826 were from DS (84.3% males, 71.9% MSM), and 109 from WL (87.2% males, 56.0% MSM), 223 from other sites not specified. 77.5% (1321 of 1705) of patients had baseline viral resistance testing performed. Prevalence of primary resistance in those with a baseline viral resistance test was 13.5% overall: 19.3% in K, 14.9% in DS, and 14.7% in WL. The most common mutations detected were: NRTI: 184V, 215F, 41L; NNRTI 103N, 179D, 90I; PI 90M, 46I, and 82A. Among patients who tested with TDR, 79.1% had one single mutation, 18.7% and 2.2% exhibited dual or triple class-resistant viruses, respectively.
Conclusions
This study across a large HIV Medicine Directorate reported an overall TDR prevalence which is higher than that previously published and with significant rates of NNRTI resistance at baseline.
doi:10.7448/IAS.17.4.19747
PMCID: PMC4225370  PMID: 25397492
8.  Plasma Drug Concentrations and Virologic Evaluations after Stopping Treatment with Nonnucleoside Reverse-Transcriptase Inhibitors in HIV Type 1–Infected Children 
Background
The optimum strategy for stopping treatment with drugs that have different half-lives in a combination regimen to minimize the risk of selecting drug-resistant viruses remains unknown. We evaluated drug concentrations in plasma, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) load, and development of drug resistance after a planned treatment interruption of a nonnucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)–containing regimen in HIV type 1–infected children.
Methods
Children with viral loads <50 copies/mL and CD4 cell percentages ≥30% (for children aged 2–6 years) or CD4 cell percentages ≥25% and CD4 cell counts ≥500 cells/μL (for children aged 7–15 years) were randomized to either a planned treatment interruption or to continuous therapy. In the planned treatment interruption arm, either (1) treatment with nevirapine or efavirenz was stopped, and treatment with the remaining drugs was continued for 7–14 days, or (2) nevirapine or efavirenz were replaced by a protease inhibitor, and all drugs were stopped after 7–14 days. Sampling for determination of plasma drug concentrations, measurement of viral load, and drug resistance testing was scheduled at day 0, day 7 (drug concentrations only), day 14, and day 28 after interruption of treatment with an NNRTI.
Results
Treatment with an NNRTI was interrupted for 35 children (20 were receiving nevirapine, and 15 were receiving efavirenz). Median time from NNRTI cessation to stopping all drugs was 9 days (range, 6–15 days) for nevirapine and 14 days (range, 6–18 days) for efavirenz. At 7 days, 1 (5%) of 19 and 4 (50%) of 8 children had detectable nevirapine and efavirenz concentrations, respectively; efavirenz remained detectable in 3 (25%) of 12 children at 14 days. At 14 days, viral load was ≥50 copies/mL in 6 of 16 children interrupting treatment with nevirapine (range, 52–7000 copies/mL) and in 2 of 12 children interrupting treatment with efavirenz (range, 120–1600 copies/mL). No new NNRTI mutations were observed.
Conclusions
In children with virological suppression who experienced interruption of treatment with an NNRTI, staggered or replacement stopping strategies for a median of 9 days for nevirapine and 14 days for efavirenz were not associated with the selection of NNRTI resistance mutations.
doi:10.1086/587657
PMCID: PMC3597130  PMID: 18419497
9.  Major HIV resistance mutations in untreated Romanian patients  
Journal of Medicine and Life  2011;4(2):151-157.
Drug resistance mutations are frequently detected in antiretroviral–naive HIV positive patients, however the data on transmitted resistance in non-B subtypes are limited. As HIV1 subtype F is prevalent in Romania, our goal is to analyze resistance mutations in the pol gene of HIV–1 isolates from drug–naive Romanian patients. HIV–1 pol gene from 12 untreated patients, newly diagnosed (n = 6) and chronically infected (n=6), with detectable HIV RNA viral load was genotyped and the viral subtype was determined by using the Stanford database algorithm. 8/12 strains belonged to the F subtype, 1/12 to the G subtype, and the rest of the studied strains appeared to be K/F, A/F and J/F inter–subtype recombinant forms. The prevalence of HIV–1 strains with at least one major drug resistance mutation in the studied group was unexpectedly high. Major mutations associated with NRTI, NNRTI and PI resistance were detected in 6/12 patients, 2/12 patients and 3/12 patients, respectively; in addition all viral strains had minor mutations in the protease gene. Newly diagnosed patients harbored resistant variants more often than chronically infected ones (4/6 vs. 2/6) did. These data support the use of genotypic resistance testing in treatment–naive HIV positive patients, in order to guide the selection of the first line of antiretrovirals, due to the fact that persons with transmitted drug resistance have a higher risk for both virologic failure and development of resistance at treatment initiation.
HIV–Human immunodeficiency virus; TDR–transmitted drug resistance; HAART–highly active antiretroviral therapy ; SDRM–surveillance list of drug resistance mutations ; NRTIs–nucleos(t)idic reverse–transcriptase inhibitors; NNRTIs– non–nucleosidic reverse transcriptase inhibitors; PIs–protease inhibitors; TAMs–thy–midine analogue mutations; 3TC –lamivudine ; FTC–emtricitabine ; ddI –didanosine ; ABC–abacavir ; ZDV–zidovudine ; d4T–stavudine ; TDF –tenofovir
PMCID: PMC3124271  PMID: 21776297
HIV; subtype F; naive patients; transmitted drug resistance
10.  Increase of Transmitted Drug Resistance among HIV-Infected Sub-Saharan Africans Residing in Spain in Contrast to the Native Population 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e26757.
Background
The prevalence of transmitted HIV drug resistance (TDR) is stabilizing or decreasing in developed countries. However, this trend is not specifically evaluated among immigrants from regions without well-implemented antiretroviral strategies.
Methods
TDR trends during 1996–2010 were analyzed among naïve HIV-infected patients in Spain, considering their origin and other factors. TDR mutations were defined according to the World Health Organization list.
Results
Pol sequence was available for 732 HIV-infected patients: 292 native Spanish, 226 sub-Saharan Africans (SSA), 114 Central-South Americans (CSA) and 100 from other regions. Global TDR prevalence was 9.7% (10.6% for Spanish, 8.4% for SSA and 7.9% for CSA). The highest prevalences were found for protease inhibitors (PI) in Spanish (3.1%), for non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTI) in SSA (6.5%) and for nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI) in both Spanish and SSA (6.5%). The global TDR rate decreased from 11.3% in 2004–2006 to 8.4% in 2007–2010. Characteristics related to a decreasing TDR trend in 2007-10 were Spanish and CSA origin, NRTI- and NNRTI-resistance, HIV-1 subtype B, male sex and infection through injection drug use. TDR remained stable for PI-resistance, in patients infected through sexual intercourse and in those carrying non-B variants. However, TDR increased among SSA and females. K103N was the predominant mutation in all groups and periods.
Conclusion
TDR prevalence tended to decrease among HIV-infected native Spanish and Central-South Americans, but it increased up to 13% in sub-Saharan immigrants in 2007–2010. These results highlight the importance of a specific TDR surveillance among immigrants to prevent future therapeutic failures, especially when administering NNRTIs.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026757
PMCID: PMC3201965  PMID: 22046345
11.  Short Communication: Emerging Transmitted HIV Type 1 Drug Resistance Mutations Among Patients Prior to Start of First-Line Antiretroviral Therapy in Middle and Low Prevalence Sites in China 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2012;28(12):1637-1639.
Abstract
It is known that transmitted drug resistance (TDR) will most likely emerge in regions where antiretroviral therapy (ART) has been widely available for years. However, after a decade of rapid scale-up of ART in China, there are few data regarding TDR among HIV-infected patients prior to initiating first-line ART in China. A prospective, observational cohort study was performed at sentinel sites in five provinces or municipalities. Study participants were recruited at the county- or city-level centers for disease control (CDCs), during routine monitoring visits following referral from diagnosing parties (e.g., hospitals). Each province or municipality recruited 140 patients through sequential sampling throughout the 2011 calendar year. A total of 627 eligible subjects were included in the analysis. the median CD4+ cell count was 206 cells/ml at the baseline survey. The majority of patients (93.5%) had plasma HIV viral load ≥1,000 copies/ml. Of the 627 patients, 17 (2.7%) had drug resistance mutations for any type of HIV drugs. The prevalence of drug resistance mutations to nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) drugs (8/627, 1.3%) was higher than to nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) drugs (5/627, 0.8%) and protease inhibitor (PI) drugs (4/627, 0.6%). A logistic regression model showed that the only predictive factor was the route of infection through homosexual intercourse, i.e., men who have sex with men (MSM) status. As HIV prevalence is rising rapidly among Chinese MSM, it is essential to continue surveying this risk group and related high-risk populations with low awareness of HIV, and to develop new public health interventions that help to reduce the spread of drug-resistant HIV.
doi:10.1089/aid.2012.0164
PMCID: PMC3505058  PMID: 22822770
12.  Transmitted Drug Resistance among People Living with HIV/Aids at Major Cities of Sao Paulo State, Brazil 
Advances in Virology  2013;2013:878237.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) transmitted drug resistance (TDR) is an important public health issue. In Brazil, low to intermediate resistance levels have been described. We assessed 225 HIV-1 infected, antiretroviral naïve individuals, from HIV Reference Centers at two major metropolitan areas of Sao Paulo (Sao Paulo and Campinas), the state that concentrates most of the Brazilian Aids cases. TDR was analyzed by Stanford Calibrated Population Resistance criteria (CPR), and mutations were observed in 17 individuals (7.6%, 95% CI: 4.5%–11.9%). Seventy-six percent of genomes (13/17) with TDR carried a nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) resistance mutation, mostly K103N/S (9/13, 69%), potentially compromising the preferential first-line therapy suggested by the Brazilian HIV Treatment Guideline that recommends efavirenz-based combinations. Moreover, 6/17 (35%) had multiple mutations associated with resistance to one or more classes. HIV-1 B was the prevalent subtype (80%); other subtypes include HIV-1 F and C, mosaics BC, BF, and single cases of subtype A1 and CRF02_AG. The HIV Reference Center of Campinas presented more cases with TDR, with a significant association of TDR with clade B infection (P < 0.05).
doi:10.1155/2013/878237
PMCID: PMC3562575  PMID: 23401688
13.  Analysis of transmitted HIV-1 drug resistance using 454 ultra-deep-sequencing and the DeepChek®-HIV system 
Journal of the International AIDS Society  2014;17(4Suppl 3):19752.
Introduction
Next-generation sequencing (NGS) is capable of detecting resistance-associated mutations (RAMs) present at frequencies of 1% or below. Several studies have found that baseline low-frequency RAMs are associated with failure to first-line HAART. One major limitation to the expansion of this technology in routine diagnostics is the complexity and laboriousness integral to bioinformatics analysis. DeepChek (ABL, TherapyEdge) is a CE-marked software that allows automated analysis and resistance interpretation of NGS data.
Objective
To evaluate the use of 454 ultra-deep-sequencing (Roche® 454, Life Sciences; 454-UDS) and DeepChek for routine baseline resistance testing in a clinical diagnostic laboratory.
Methods
107 newly diagnosed HIV-1-infected patients (subtypes: A, n=9; B, n=52; C, n=21; D, n=2; F, n=3; G, n=1; CRF01, n=7; CRF02, n=7; CRF06, n=1; CRF07, n=1; CRF10, n=1 and unassigned complex, n=2) with a median plasma viral load of 88,727 copies/mL (range: 1380–2,143,543) were tested by 454-UDS and Sanger sequencing for the detection of protease and reverse transcriptase RAMs. In addition, integrase RAMs were investigated in 57 of them. Sequence analysis and resistance interpretation were performed using DeepChek applying 1% and 20% thresholds for variant detections; filters applied were comparison between Sanger and 454-UDS, and Stanford and IAS list for resistance interpretation.
Results
The time elapsed from generation of raw 454 data (between 2,000–5,000 sequences/sample) to elaboration of a resistance report was approximately 10 minutes per sample, equivalent to the time required for the same process using Sanger sequencing. Four patients (3.7%) showed baseline resistance by Sanger and 454-UDS at frequencies above 20%, which affected both NRTIs (n=2) and NNRTIs (n=2). In addition, 12 patients (11.2%) showed transmitted drug resistance (TDR) by 454-UDS at frequencies below 20% affecting NRTIs (n=9), NNRTIs (n=7) and PIs (n=2). Integrase resistance was not detected at baseline by 454-UDS or Sanger sequencing.
Conclusions
DeepChek allowed easy and rapid analysis and interpretation of NGS data, thus facilitating the incorporation of this technology in routine diagnostics. The use of NGS considerably increased the detection rates of TDR to NRTI, NNRTIs and PIs. No transmitted resistance to integrase inhibitors was found in our population by Sanger sequencing or UDS.
doi:10.7448/IAS.17.4.19752
PMCID: PMC4225408  PMID: 25397497
14.  Evolution of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) Resistance Mutations in Nonnucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NNRTIs) in HIV-1-Infected Patients Switched to Antiretroviral Therapy without NNRTIs 
We studied the evolution of nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) resistance mutations among 29 human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected patients who experienced virologic failure when receiving an NNRTI-containing regimen (nevirapine, delavirdine, or efavirenz) and subsequently switched to antiretroviral therapy without NNRTIs. Genotypic resistance was determined from plasma samples collected at the time of NNRTI withdrawal (baseline) and during follow-up. At baseline, 83% of patients had more than two thymidine analog resistance mutations (TAMs), and all had NNRTI resistance mutations. Mutations at codons 103, 181, and 190 were found in 62, 62, and 34% of the patients, respectively. Follow-up samples were available after a median time of 6 months in all patients and at 12 months in 22 patients. The mean number of resistance mutations to NNRTIs was significantly lower at months 6 (1.34 ± 1.04) and 12 (1.18 ± 1.05) than at month 0 (2.03 ± 1.02) (P < 0.009). The percentages of patients with at least one NNRTI resistance mutation were 100, 76, and 73% at baseline, month 6, and month 12, respectively (P < 0.0044). Overall, 70% of the patients had a mutation at codon 103 or 181 at month 12. The mean number of TAMs did not vary significantly during follow-up. Our data show that, in the context of maintained antiretroviral therapy, NNRTI resistance mutations persist in two-thirds of the patients in spite of NNRTI withdrawal. These results argue for the low impact of NNRTI resistance mutations on viral fitness and suggest that resistance mutations to different classes of drugs are associated on the same genome, at least in some of the resistant strains.
doi:10.1128/AAC.48.1.172-175.2004
PMCID: PMC310183  PMID: 14693536
15.  Short Communication: HIV Type 1 Transmitted Drug Resistance and Evidence of Transmission Clusters Among Recently Infected Antiretroviral-Naive Individuals from Ugandan Fishing Communities of Lake Victoria 
Abstract
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) prevalence and incidence in the fishing communities on Lake Victoria in Uganda are high. This population may play a role in driving the HIV epidemic in Uganda including the spread of transmitted drug resistance (TDR). We report data on TDR in this population among antiretroviral (ARV)-naive, recently infected individuals about 5 years after ARV scaling-up in Uganda. We identified phylogenetic transmission clusters and combined these with volunteer life histories in order to understand the sexual networks within this population. From a prospective cohort of 1,000 HIV-negative individuals recruited from five communities, 51 seroconverters were identified over a period of 2 years. From these, whole blood was collected and population sequencing of the HIV-1 pol gene (protease/reverse transcriptase) was performed from plasma. Drug resistance mutations (DRMs) were scored using the 2009 WHO list for surveillance of TDR. TDR prevalence categories were estimated using the WHO recommended truncated sampling technique for the surveillance of TDR for use in resource-limited settings (RLS). Of the samples 92% (47/51) were successfully genotyped. HIV-1 subtype frequencies were 15/47 (32%) A1, 20/47 (43%) D, 1/47 (2%) C, 1/47 (2%) G, and 10/47 (21%) unique recombinant forms. Nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) drug resistance mutation K103N was identified in two individuals and V106A in one (6%) suggesting that the level of TDR was moderate in this population. No nucleoside/tide reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) or protease inhibitor (PI) DRMs were detected. In this study, we identified five transmission clusters supported by high bootstrap values and low genetic distances. Of these, one pair included the two individuals with K103N. Two of the genotypic clusters corresponded with reported sexual partnerships as detected through prior in-depth interviews. The level of TDR to NNRTIs in these ARV-naive individuals was moderate by WHO threshold survey categorization. The transmission clusters suggest a high degree of sexual partner mixing between members of these communities.
doi:10.1089/aid.2012.0123
PMCID: PMC3636596  PMID: 23173702
16.  Evolution of Primary HIV Drug Resistance in a Subtype C Dominated Epidemic in Mozambique 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e68213.
Objective
In Mozambique, highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) was introduced in 2004 followed by decentralization and expansion, resulting in a more than 20-fold increase in coverage by 2009. Implementation of HIV drug resistance threshold surveys (HIVDR-TS) is crucial in order to monitor the emergence of transmitted viral resistance, and to produce evidence-based recommendations to support antiretroviral (ARV) policy in Mozambique.
Methods
World Health Organization (WHO) methodology was used to evaluate transmitted drug resistance (TDR) in newly diagnosed HIV-1 infected pregnant women attending ante-natal clinics in Maputo and Beira to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTI), nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI) and protease inhibitors (PI). Subtypes were assigned using REGA HIV-1 subtyping tool and phylogenetic trees constructed using MEGA version 5.
Results
Although mutations associated with resistance to all three drug were detected in these surveys, transmitted resistance was analyzed and classified as <5% in Maputo in both surveys for all three drug classes. Transmitted resistance to NNRTI in Beira in 2009 was classified between 5–15%, an increase from 2007 when no NNRTI mutations were found. All sequences clustered with subtype C.
Conclusions
Our results show that the epidemic is dominated by subtype C, where the first-line option based on two NRTI and one NNRTI is still effective for treatment of HIV infection, but intermediate levels of TDR found in Beira reinforce the need for constant evaluation with continuing treatment expansion in Mozambique.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0068213
PMCID: PMC3728366  PMID: 23935858
17.  HIV drug resistance surveillance in low- and middle-income countries: 2004 to 2010 
Background
At the end of 2011, over 8 million people were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), a 26-fold increase from 2003. Some degree of HIV drug resistance (HIVDR) will emerge among populations on combination ART even when high levels of adherence are achieved. In 2004, the World Health Organization (WHO) initiated global HIVDR surveillance to monitor emergence and transmission of HIVDR in countries scaling-up ART.
Methods
WHO HIVDR surveillance strategy was designed to inform public health decision-making regarding choice of ART and to identify ART programme factors which could be adjusted to minimize HIVDR emergence. The strategy includes (1) surveillance of transmitted HIVDR (TDR) in recently infected populations, (2) surveillance of acquired HIVDR (ADR) in populations on ART and (3) monitoring of early warning indicators (EWI) of HIVDR which are ART programme factors favouring HIVDR emergence. Surveys used standardized protocols. Epidemiological and sequence data were quality assured.
Results
TDR: Eighty-two surveys were conducted in 30 countries in 2004 to 2010, assessing 3588 recently infected individuals. Pooled analysis indicates an overall prevalence of 3.1% TDR to at least one drug class, 1.6% to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI), 1.3% to nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) and 0.7% to protease inhibitor (PI). Levels of NNRTI resistance, particularly in the areas surveyed in Africa, increased over time, reaching 3.4% (95% CI=1.8 to 5.2%) in 2009. Greater ART coverage was associated, though modestly, with increased prevalence of TDR to NNRTI (P-value adjusted for region=0.039). ADR: Thirty-six ADR surveys assessing 6370 people in 12 LMIC were conducted in 2007 to 2010. HIVDR prevalence to any drug among those initiating ART ranged from 4.8% (95% CI=3.8 to 6.0%) in 2007 to 6.8% (95% CI=4.8 to 9.0%) in 2010. Ninety per cent of patients alive and on therapy at 12 months achieved viral load <1000 c/mL. Among people with virological failure, 72% had HIVDR to at least one drug. EWI: EWIs were monitored at 2017 clinics in 50 countries assessing 131,686 people since 2004. Overall, 75% of clinics met the target of 100% of patients receiving appropriate ART; 69% of clinics met the <20% target for lost to follow-up at 12 months; and only 65% of clinics provided a continuous supply of ART during a 12-month period.
Conclusion
Expansion of ART in LMIC has resulted in an overall increase in HIVDR, particularly to NNRTI in Africa. EWIs reveal important gaps in service delivery and programme performance. While these data call for continued and improved scale up of surveillance, they also suggest that resistance is under control in the areas surveyed, and the majority of patients initiating or switching therapy are likely to respond to currently available first- and second-line therapy.
doi:10.7448/IAS.15.6.18083
PMCID: PMC3512549
18.  Prevalence of Transmitted Drug Resistance and Impact of Transmitted Resistance on Treatment Success in the German HIV-1 Seroconverter Cohort 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(10):e12718.
Background
The aim of this study is to analyse the prevalence of transmitted drug resistance, TDR, and the impact of TDR on treatment success in the German HIV-1 Seroconverter Cohort.
Methods
Genotypic resistance analysis was performed in treatment-naïve study patients whose sample was available 1,312/1,564 (83.9% October 2008). A genotypic resistance result was obtained for 1,276/1,312 (97.3%). The resistance associated mutations were identified according to the surveillance drug resistance mutations list recommended for drug-naïve patients. Treatment success was determined as viral suppression below 500 copies/ml.
Results
Prevalence of TDR was stable at a high level between 1996 and 2007 in the German HIV-1 Seroconverter Cohort (N = 158/1,276; 12.4%; CIwilson 10.7–14.3; p for trend = 0.25). NRTI resistance was predominant (7.5%) but decreased significantly over time (CIWilson: 6.2–9.1, p for trend = 0.02). NNRTI resistance tended to increase over time (NNRTI: 3.5%; CIWilson: 2.6–4.6; p for trend  = 0.07), whereas PI resistance remained stable (PI: 3.0%; CIWilson: 2.1–4.0; p for trend  = 0.24). Resistance to all drug classes was frequently caused by singleton resistance mutations (NRTI 55.6%, PI 68.4%, NNRTI 99.1%). The majority of NRTI-resistant strains (79.8%) carried resistance-associated mutations selected by the thymidine analogues zidovudine and stavudine. Preferably 2NRTI/1PIr combinations were prescribed as first line regimen in patients with resistant HIV as well as in patients with susceptible strains (susceptible 45.3%; 173/382 vs. resistant 65.5%; 40/61). The majority of patients in both groups were treated successfully within the first year after ART-initiation (susceptible: 89.9%; 62/69; resistant: 7/9; 77.8%).
Conclusion
Overall prevalence of TDR remained stable at a high level but trends of resistance against drug classes differed over time. The significant decrease of NRTI-resistance in patients newly infected with HIV might be related to the introduction of novel antiretroviral drugs and a wider use of genotypic resistance analysis prior to treatment initiation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012718
PMCID: PMC2951346  PMID: 20949104
19.  Prevalence and Clinical Significance of HIV Drug Resistance Mutations by Ultra-Deep Sequencing in Antiretroviral-Naïve Subjects in the CASTLE Study 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(6):e10952.
Background
CASTLE compared the efficacy of atazanavir/ritonavir with lopinavir/ritonavir, each in combination with tenofovir-emtricitabine in ARV-naïve subjects from 5 continents.
Objectives
Determine the baseline rate and clinical significance of TDR mutations using ultra-deep sequencing (UDS) in ARV-naïve subjects in CASTLE.
Methods
A case control study was performed on baseline samples for all 53 subjects with virologic failures (VF) at Week 48 and 95 subjects with virologic successes (VS) randomly selected and matched by CD4 count and viral load. UDS was performed using 454 Life Sciences/Roche technology.
Results
Of 148 samples, 141 had successful UDS (86 subtype B, 55 non-B subtypes). Overall, 30.5% of subjects had a TDR mutation at baseline; 15.6% only had TDR(s) at <20% of the viral population. There was no difference in the rate of TDRs by B (30.2%) or non-B subtypes (30.9%). VF (51) and VS (90) had similar rates of any TDRs (25.5% vs. 33.3%), NNRTI TDRs (11.1% vs.11.8%) and NRTI TDRs (24.4% vs. 25.5%). Of 9 (6.4%) subjects with M184V/I (7 at <20% levels), 6 experienced VF. 16 (11.3%) subjects had multiple TAMs, and 7 experienced VF. 3 (2.1%) subjects had both multiple TAMs+M184V, and all experienced VF. Of 14 (9.9%) subjects with PI TDRs (11 at <20% levels): only 1 experienced virologic failure. The majority of PI TDRs were found in isolation (e.g. 46I) at <20% levels, and had low resistance algorithm scores.
Conclusion
Among a representative sample of ARV-naïve subjects in CASTLE, TDR mutations were common (30.5%); B and non-B subtypes had similar rates of TDRs. Subjects with multiple PI TDRs were infrequent. Overall, TDRs did not affect virologic response for subjects on a boosted PI by week 48; however, a small subset of subjects with extensive NRTI backbone TDR patterns experienced virologic failure.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010952
PMCID: PMC2880604  PMID: 20532178
20.  Factors Associated with Virological Response to Etravirine in Nonnucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor-Experienced HIV-1-Infected Patients▿  
To identify factors associated with virological response (VR) to an etravirine (ETR)-based regimen, 243 patients previously treated with nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) were studied. The impact of baseline HIV-1 RNA, CD4 cell count, past NNRTIs used, 57 NNRTI resistance mutations, genotypic sensitivity score (GSS) for nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) and protease inhibitors (PIs), and the number of new drugs used with ETR for the first time on the VR to an ETR regimen were investigated. Among the 243 patients, the median baseline HIV-1 RNA level was 4.4 log10 copies/ml (interquartile range [IQR], 3.7 to 4.9) and the median CD4 count was 175 cells/mm3 (IQR, 69 to 312). Patients had been previously exposed to a median of 6 NRTIs, 1, NNRTI, and 5 PIs. Overall, 82% of patients achieved a VR at month 2, as defined by a decrease of at least 1.5 log10 copies/ml and/or HIV-1 RNA level of <50 copies/ml. No difference in VR was observed between patients receiving or not a boosted PI in combination with ETR. Factors independently associated with a better VR to ETR were the number of drugs (among enfuvirtide, darunavir, or raltegravir) used for the first time in combination with ETR and the presence of the K103N mutation at baseline. Mutations Y181V and E138A were independently associated with poor VR, whereas no effect of the Y181C on VR was observed. In conclusion, ETR was associated with high response rates in NNRTI-experienced patients in combination with other active drugs regardless of the therapeutic class used.
doi:10.1128/AAC.01051-09
PMCID: PMC2798499  PMID: 19901096
21.  One-, Two-, and Three-Class Resistance among HIV-Infected Patients on Antiretroviral Therapy in Private Care Clinics: Mumbai, India 
Abstract
HIV-infected patients receiving antiretroviral (ARV) therapy (ART) in India are not all adequately virally suppressed. We analyzed ARV drug resistance in adults receiving ART in three private clinics in Mumbai, India. HIV viral load was measured in 200 patients with the Roche AMPLICOR HIV-1 Monitor Test, v1.5. HIV genotyping was performed with the ViroSeq HIV-1 Genotyping System for 61 participants who had HIV-1 RNA >1000 copies/ml. Genotyping results were obtained for 51 samples. The participants with resistance results were on ART for a median of 24 months and were on their current regimen for a median of 12 months (median CD4 cell count: 217 cells/mm3; median HIV viral load: 28,200 copies/ml). ARV regimens included nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)-based regimens (n = 27), dual nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs, n = 19), protease inhibitor (PI)-based regimens (n = 3), and other regimens (n = 2). Twenty-six participants (51.0%) were on their first ARV regimen and 24 (47%) reported >95% adherence. Forty-nine participants (96.1%) had resistance to at least one ARV drug; 47 (92.2%) had NRTI resistance, 32 (62.7%) had NNRTI resistance, and four (7.8%) had PI resistance. Thirty (58.8%) had two-class resistance and three (5.9%) had three-class resistance. Four (8%) had three or more resistance mutations associated with etravirine resistance and two (4%) had two mutations associated with reduced darunavir susceptibility. Almost all patients with HIV-1 RNA >1000 copies/ml had NRTI resistance and nearly two-thirds had NNRTI resistance; PI resistance was uncommon. Nearly 60% and 6% had two- and three-class resistance, respectively. This emphasizes the need for greater viral load and resistance monitoring, use of optimal ART combinations, and increased availability of second- and third-line agents for patients with ARV resistance.
doi:10.1089/aid.2009.0102
PMCID: PMC2858895  PMID: 20063995
22.  Minority HIV-1 Drug Resistance Mutations Are Present in Antiretroviral Treatment–Naïve Populations and Associate with Reduced Treatment Efficacy 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(7):e158.
Background
Transmitted HIV-1 drug resistance can compromise initial antiretroviral therapy (ART); therefore, its detection is important for patient management. The absence of drug-associated selection pressure in treatment-naïve persons can cause drug-resistant viruses to decline to levels undetectable by conventional bulk sequencing (minority drug-resistant variants). We used sensitive and simple tests to investigate evidence of transmitted drug resistance in antiretroviral drug-naïve persons and assess the clinical implications of minority drug-resistant variants.
Methods and Findings
We performed a cross-sectional analysis of transmitted HIV-1 drug resistance and a case-control study of the impact of minority drug resistance on treatment response. For the cross-sectional analysis, we examined viral RNA from newly diagnosed ART-naïve persons in the US and Canada who had no detectable (wild type, n = 205) or one or more resistance-related mutations (n = 303) by conventional sequencing. Eight validated real-time PCR-based assays were used to test for minority drug resistance mutations (protease L90M and reverse transcriptase M41L, K70R, K103N, Y181C, M184V, and T215F/Y) above naturally occurring frequencies. The sensitive real-time PCR testing identified one to three minority drug resistance mutation(s) in 34/205 (17%) newly diagnosed persons who had wild-type virus by conventional genotyping; four (2%) individuals had mutations associated with resistance to two drug classes. Among 30/303 (10%) samples with bulk genotype resistance mutations we found at least one minority variant with a different drug resistance mutation. For the case-control study, we assessed the impact of three treatment-relevant drug resistance mutations at baseline from a separate group of 316 previously ART-naïve persons with no evidence of drug resistance on bulk genotype testing who were placed on efavirenz-based regimens. We found that 7/95 (7%) persons who experienced virologic failure had minority drug resistance mutations at baseline; however, minority resistance was found in only 2/221 (0.9%) treatment successes (Fisher exact test, p = 0.0038).
Conclusions
These data suggest that a considerable proportion of transmitted HIV-1 drug resistance is undetected by conventional genotyping and that minority mutations can have clinical consequences. With no treatment history to help guide therapies for drug-naïve persons, the findings suggest an important role for sensitive baseline drug resistance testing.
Using real-time PCR to detect HIV resistance mutations present at low levels, Jeffrey Johnson and colleagues investigate prevalence and clinical implications of minority transmitted mutations.
Editors' Summary
Background
Since the mid-1990s, several powerful antiretroviral drug combinations have been developed that have greatly improved the prognosis of HIV infection. All antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimens combine drugs that act against HIV in different ways (so-called different drug classes). Multiple drugs are necessary because HIV continually accumulates random changes (mutations) in its genetic material (genome). Some of these mutations make HIV resistant to individual antiretroviral drugs, so a mixture of drugs is needed to keep the virus in check. However, the efficacy of ART (which itself selects for drug-resistant variants by giving them a growth advantage over drug-sensitive variants) is substantially reduced when these variants account for more than about 20% of the viruses in an infected person. This level of variant virus can be detected in blood samples with a technique called bulk sequencing. In North America and Europe, where ART has been widely used for many years, around 20% of HIV-infected people who have taken ART themselves develop this level of drug-resistant virus, which can be transmitted by the same routes as nonresistant HIV (typically unprotected sexual intercourse or needle sharing). In such cases, the person acquiring drug-resistant HIV may experience treatment failure when drugs later fail to work against the resistant virus. In these countries, therefore, resistance testing by bulk sequencing is done routinely before ART is initiated to decide which antiviral drugs are likely to be effective.
Why Was This Study Done?
Several years usually elapse between the time a person becomes infected with HIV and the time he or she starts ART. During this time, the absence of selection pressure from antiviral drugs means that transmitted drug-resistant variants tend to decline to levels undetectable by bulk sequencing. These “minority drug-resistant variants” can be detected using other more sensitive tests but it is not known what proportion of HIV-infected people who have never taken ART carry minority drug-resistant variants (the “prevalence” of these variants). It is also unknown whether the presence of minority drug-resistant variants reduces the success of ART. In this paper, the researchers first report a “cross-sectional” study in North America using a sensitive assay to determine the prevalence of minority drug-resistant viruses among HIV-infected people who had never received ART. They then investigate whether minority drug-resistant variants have any impact on the effectiveness of ART in a “case-control” study.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In their cross-sectional study, the researchers used a highly sensitive test for detecting mutations (called a real-time PCR-based assay) to look for low levels of viruses carrying any of eight major drug-resistance mutations in people with newly diagnosed HIV infection who reported no prior treatment with ART. Seventeen percent of the people who had only wild-type (nonmutated) virus by bulk sequencing (205 participants) were found, in fact, to carry low levels of virus variants with 1–3 drug-resistance mutations; 2% of them carried viruses resistant to two different drug classes (called multi-drug resistance). Among the people with resistance mutations detected by bulk sequencing (303 participants), 10% had at least one additional minority drug-resistant variant, often a viral variant that was resistant to a drug class different from that detected by bulk sequencing. In the case-control study, the researchers used their sensitive assays to measure the levels of viruses containing any of the three most common drug resistance mutations likely to affect viral responses to the antiretroviral drugs efavirenz and lamivudine in 316 people just before they started their first HIV treatment, which included these drugs. Of people for whom ART failed, 7% were infected with minority drug-resistant virus variants at baseline compared with only 0.9% of people for whom ART worked; this difference was statistically significant.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The findings of the cross-sectional study indicate that conventional bulk sequencing fails to detect a large proportion of transmitted HIV drug resistance and suggest that the transmission of drug-resistant variants from infectious ART-experienced people to ART-naïve individuals might not be uncommon. The findings of the case-control study suggest that the minority drug-resistant HIV variants may have clinical consequences. That is, the presence of such variants in individuals who have not previously taken ART may reduce the efficacy of some ART regimens. However, the number of participants meeting the criteria for analysis in the cross-sectional study was limited, and the association between minority resistance and treatment failure may have been influenced by other factors. Taken together, these findings suggest that, to ensure that first-line ART is as effective as possible, greater efforts should be made to prevent HIV transmission, whether from ART-experienced or ART-naive people. However, because data on minority drug-resistant virus are limited, more studies— particularly with recent populations—are needed before testing for these variants can be considered appropriate in the clinical management of newly diagnosed HIV infection.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050158.
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Steven G. Deeks
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including links to fact sheets (in English, French, and Spanish) about antiretrovirals and information on genetic testing for HIV drug resistance
NAM, a UK registered charity, provides information about all aspects of HIVand AIDS, including fact sheets on types of HIV drug, drug resistance, and resistance tests (in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Russian)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on HIV/AIDS and on treatment (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050158
PMCID: PMC2488194  PMID: 18666824
23.  Prevalence of Transmitted HIV Drug Resistance Among Newly Diagnosed Antiretroviral Therapy–Naive Pregnant Women in Lilongwe and Blantyre, Malawi 
In 2006, a survey of transmitted human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) drug resistance (TDR) was conducted in Lilongwe, Malawi. The survey followed the World Health Organization method to classify TDR to nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), and protease inhibitors (PIs) among primigravid women aged <25 years. Results of the 2006 survey showed <5% TDR in all drug classes. In 2009, TDR surveys using the same method were repeated in Lilongwe and expanded to Blantyre. Findings show that in Lilongwe TDR to NRTIs and PIs was <5%, whereas TDR to NNRTIs was 5%–15%. In Blantyre, TDR was <5% to all drug classes. Observed moderate TDR in Lilongwe is cause for concern and signals the need for closer monitoring of Malawi’s antiretroviral therapy program.
doi:10.1093/cid/cir993
PMCID: PMC3338309  PMID: 22544197
24.  Transmitted HIV Resistance to First-Line Antiretroviral Therapy in Lima, Peru 
Abstract
Transmission of drug-resistant HIV (TDR) has been associated with virologic failure of “first-line,” nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)-based antiretroviral therapy (ART). A national ART program began in Peru in 2004. We evaluated the prevalence of TDR in individuals initiating ART and their virologic outcome during 2 years of ART. HIV-infected, ARV-naive subjects who met criteria to start ART in Lima, Peru were enrolled in a longitudinal observational study between July 2007 and February 2009. Blood plasma and cells obtained prior to ART initiation were assessed for antiretroviral (ARV) resistance by an oligonucleotide ligation assay (OLA) sensitive to 2% mutant at reverse transcriptase (RT) codons K103N, Y181C, G190A, and M184V and a subset by consensus sequencing. A total of 112 participants were enrolled; the mean CD4 was 134±89 cells/μl and the median plasma HIV RNA was 93,556 copies/ml (IQR 62,776–291,364). Drug resistance mutations conferring high-level resistance to ARV were rare, detected in one of 96 (1%) evaluable participants. This subject had the Y181C mutation detected in both plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) at a concentration of 100% by OLA and consensus sequencing; nevertheless nevirapine-ART suppressed her viral replication. Consensus sequencing of 37 (19%) participants revealed multiple polymorphisms that occasionally have been associated with low-level reductions in ARV susceptibility. A low prevalence of TDR was detected among Peruvians initiating ART. Given the increasing availability of ART, continuing surveillance is needed to determine if TDR increases and the mutant codons associated with virologic failure.
doi:10.1089/aid.2011.0131
PMCID: PMC3316114  PMID: 21819256
25.  Transmitted human immunodeficiency virus-1 drug resistance in a cohort of men who have sex with men in Belo Horizonte, Brazil - 1996-2012 
Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz  2013;108(4):470-475.
The presence of transmitted human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 drug-resistance (TDR) at the time of antiretroviral therapy initiation is associated with failure to achieve viral load (VL) suppression. Here, we report TDR surveillance in a specific population of men who have sex with men (MSM) in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. In this study, the rate of TDR was evaluated in 64 HIV-infected individuals from a cohort of MSM between 1996-June 2012. Fifty-four percent had a documented recent HIV infection, with a seroconversion time of less than 12 months. The median CD4+T lymphocyte count and VL were 531 cells/mm3and 17,746 copies/mL, respectively. Considering the surveillance drug resistance mutation criteria, nine (14.1%) patients presented TDR, of which three (4.7%), five (7.8%) and four (6.2%) had protease inhibitors, resistant against nucleos(t)ide transcriptase inhibitors and against non-nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors mutations, respectively. Two of the patients had multi-drug-resistant HIV-1. The most prevalent viral subtype was B (44, 68.8%), followed by subtype F (11, 17.2%). This study shows that TDR may vary according to the population studied and it may be higher in clusters of MSM.
doi:10.1590/0074-0276108042013012
PMCID: PMC3970622  PMID: 23828000
HIV-1; transmitted drug resistance; genotyping; recent HIV infection; men who have sex with men

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