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Clin Infect Dis. 2013 Jun;56(11):1667-74. doi: 10.1093/cid/cit125. Epub 2013 Feb 27.

Clinical implications of HIV-1 minority variants.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Technologic advances in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) sequencing have revolutionized the study of antiretroviral drug resistance and are increasingly moving from the laboratory to clinical practice. These techniques are able to detect HIV-1 drug resistance mutations present at low frequencies not detectable by current HIV-1 genotyping assays. For a number of commonly used antiretroviral medications, such as nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, the detection of these drug-resistant minority variants significantly increases the risk of treatment failure. The level of evidence, however, is insufficient to determine the impact of HIV-1 minority variants for several other classes of antiretroviral medications. Clinicians should be aware of the novel technologies that are moving into routine clinical use and the clinical implications of HIV-1 minority variants. Additional studies are needed to determine the optimal platform for clinical application of these new technologies and to provide guidance to clinicians on the type and frequency of clinically important HIV-1 minority variants.


HIV-1 drug resistance; minority variants; treatment failure

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