Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Antivir Ther. 2012;17(8):1621-5. doi: 10.3851/IMP2267. Epub 2012 Jul 31.

Therapy failure resulting from superinfection by a drug-resistant HIV variant.

Author information

  • 1Department of Virology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.



HIV-1-infected patients can be superinfected with additional HIV-1 variants. Therapy failure can be the consequence of an infection with a resistant strain.


A patient was diagnosed with a recent HIV-1 infection in April 2005 and subsequently clinically monitored. HIV-1 evolution was studied by population sequencing of the first 984 bases of the pol gene as well as 454 ultra-deep pyrosequencing (UDPS) of parts of the pol and env genes.


The patient was diagnosed with a wild-type HIV-1 strain, but experienced rapid virological failure after initiating a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)-based treatment regimen 3 years later. Population sequencing and UDPS revealed the presence of a second HIV-1 strain with a Y188L NNRTI resistance mutation in a sample obtained shortly prior to initiation of therapy. Phylogenetic analyses showed that the two HIV-1 strains were genetically distinct, providing evidence for superinfection.


The virological treatment failure in this patient was probably due to the superinfection with an NNRTI-resistant HIV-1 variant. Superinfection with drug-resistant strains can undermine HIV-1 treatment regimens selected on the basis of resistance testing at diagnosis. Patients, especially in high-risk groups, as well as their clinicians, should be aware of the risks and dangers of superinfections.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk