Lancet Infectious Diseases: HIV becoming resistant to key drug

Below are extracts from a news item on the BBC website. The paper in The Lancet Infectious Diseases is freely available here:

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(15)00536-8/abstract

HIV becoming resistant to key drug, study finds

By Dominic Howell

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-35433856

Strains of HIV are becoming resistant to an antiretroviral drug commonly used to prevent and fight the virus, research has suggested.

HIV was resistant to the drug Tenofovir in 60% of selected cases [individuals with treatment failure] in some African countries, according to the study, which covered a 17-year period…

Lead author Dr Ravi Gupta said the results were “extremely concerning”…

The paper, which has been published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, said poor administration of the drug, in terms of regularly taking the right levels of Tenofovir could be explanation for the discrepancy.

“If the right levels of the drug are not taken, as in they are too low or not regularly maintained, the virus can overcome the drug and become resistant,” Dr Gupta told the BBC News website…’

The authors write:

‘Our findings are important in view of the fact that following WHO recommendations, tenofovir is replacing thymidine analogues (zidovudine and stavudine) as part of the NRTI backbone in first-line regimens in resource-limited settings. Every drug in these regimens can be compromised by one aminoacid mutation, and the combination therapy is therefore potentially fragile.’

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