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Int J Dermatol. 2007 Dec;46(12):1263-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2007.03449.x.

Frequency of acyclovir-resistant herpes simplex viruses isolated from the general immunocompetent population and patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

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Professor Alborzi Clinical Microbiology Research Center and Department of Internal Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.



Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections are usually chronically recurrent in the normal population and represent a significant cause of morbidity in immunocompromised patients. Acyclovir (ACV) is widely used for the treatment and prophylaxis of HSV infections. The emergence of ACV-resistant strains has been frequently reported as a result of long-term ACV therapy.


Despite the widespread use of ACV, there are no data available in our area on the frequency of ACV-resistant HSVs. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the susceptibility of HSV isolated from normal subjects and patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) to ACV.


HSVs were isolated from the orofacial region of normal individuals and patients with AIDS. The susceptibility of isolated HSV strains to various concentrations of ACV was determined by plaque reduction assay. The sensitivity of the viral strains was expressed as IC(50) (the concentration of drug reducing the viral plaque by 50%).


One hundred and thirty-three isolates from 102 normal subjects and 31 patients with AIDS were tested. One HSV-1 isolate from normal individuals had intermediate susceptibility. Two ACV-resistant isolates (one HSV-1 and one HSV-2), with IC(50) > or = 2 to < or = 3 microg/mL, and one highly resistant HSV-2 isolate, with IC(50) > or = 5 microg/mL, were detected in patients with AIDS.


Our data show that the prevalence of ACV-resistant strains is very low in the general immunocompetent population; however, in patients with AIDS, the prevalence of ACV-resistant strains is remarkable (P = 0.001). Alternative antiherpetic agents should be employed to control and reduce the emergence of ACV-resistant strains in patients with AIDS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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