Multi-Drug Resistance Found in HIV Patients
London, UK — Many African HIV patients whose strains have developed resistances to older HIV medications have been shown to also have resistances to newer drugs, according to a recent University College study published in November’s Lancet.
The researchers looked at 712 HIV patients worldwide whose infection was not controlled by antiretroviral drugs, finding that 16 percent of patients whose infection was resistant to modern drugs had HIV mutations linked with resistance to older HIV drugs called thymidine analogues.
Among those with this HIV mutation, 80 percent were also resistant to tenofovir, the main drug in most modern HIV treatment and prevention programs.
“We were very surprised to see that so many people were resistant to both drugs, as we didn't think this was possible," said study lead author Ravi Gupta, of University College London.
"Mutations for thymidine analogue resistance were previously thought to be incompatible with mutations for tenofovir resistance, but we now see that HIV can be resistant to both at once. This emphasizes the need to check the genetic profile of patient's virus before prescribing first-line treatments, as they may have already developed resistance to other treatments that they did not mention having taken," Gupta said.
Drug resistance typically occurs when patients fail to take their medications as directed by their doctor, as first-line treatments need to be taken 85-90 percent of the time in order to be effective.
What are needed, according to Gupta, are easy-to-use resistance-testing kits to help screen for drug resistance before giving treatment. This would also help doctors to monitor HIV drug resistance globally more effectively, he said. Continue>
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