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J Virol Methods. 2001 Apr;93(1-2):145-56.

Simple detection of point mutations associated with HIV-1 drug resistance.

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Jefferiss Research Trust Laboratories, Department of GUM and Communicable Diseases, Division of Medicine, Imperial College School of Medicine at St. Mary's Hospital, London W2 1PG, UK.


A novel assay is described for the detection of HIV-1 drug resistance that is simple, cheap and sensitive. HIV-1 drug resistance in B and non-B HIV-1 subtypes was investigated using Mutagenically-Separated PCR (MS--PCR) --- a competitive semi-nested PCR which uses mutagenic primers. The assay was assessed for sensitivity, specificity and its ability to detect mutant virus within a mixed mutant--wild-type population. Gene sequencing was carried out simultaneously for comparison. MS--PCR detected five copies of HIV-1 RNA from laboratory isolates and 50 copies from patient samples. We demonstrate 100% specificity of detection for wild type or mutant virus for clades A, B, C, D and E. For mixed populations of virus, MS--PCR can detect at least a 10% mix of wild type:mutant, or vice-versa. When applied to African patient samples MS--PCR detected 91.6% of the codons tested. Concordance with sequencing data was 88.8% for protease and 97.2% for RT. MS--PCR is sensitive and specific for the detection of mutations in HIV-1, and can be adapted easily to test for resistance at any codon of interest.

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