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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2014 Mar;30(3):289-93. doi: 10.1089/AID.2013.0267. Epub 2013 Dec 13.

Viral tropism and antiretroviral drug resistance in HIV-1 subtype C-infected patients failing highly active antiretroviral therapy in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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  • 11 Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand Medical School , Johannesburg, South Africa .


Reports show that up to 30% of antiretroviral drug-naive patients in Johannesburg have CXCR4-utilizing HIV-1 subtype C. We assessed whether HIV-1 subtype C-infected individuals failing highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) have a higher proportion of CXCR4-utilizing viruses compared to antiretroviral drug-naive patients. The V3 loop was sequenced from plasma from 100 randomly selected HAART-failing patients, and tropism was established using predictive algorithms. All patients harbored HIV-1 subtype C with at least one antiretroviral drug resistance mutation. Viral tropism prediction in individuals failing HAART revealed similar proportions (29%) of X4-utilizing viruses compared to antiretroviral drug-naive patients (30%). Findings are in contrast to reports from Durban in which 60% of HAART-failing subjects harbored X4/dual/mixed-tropic viruses. Despite differences in proportions of X4-tropism within South Africa, the high proportion of thymidine analogue mutations (TAMs) and CXCR4-utilizing HIV-1 highlights the need for intensified monitoring of HAART patients and the predicament of diminishing drug options, including CCR5 antagonists, for patients failing therapy.

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