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Concept: Antiretroviral drug


The timely detection of viremia in HIV-infected patients receiving antiviral treatment is key to ensuring effective therapy and preventing the emergence of drug resistance. In high HIV burden settings, the cost and complexity of diagnostics limit their availability. We have developed a novel complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) chip based, pH-mediated, point-of-care HIV-1 viral load monitoring assay that simultaneously amplifies and detects HIV-1 RNA. A novel low-buffer HIV-1 pH-LAMP (loop-mediated isothermal amplification) assay was optimised and incorporated into a pH sensitive CMOS chip. Screening of 991 clinical samples (164 on the chip) yielded a sensitivity of 95% (in vitro) and 88.8% (on-chip) at >1000 RNA copies/reaction across a broad spectrum of HIV-1 viral clades. Median time to detection was 20.8 minutes in samples with >1000 copies RNA. The sensitivity, specificity and reproducibility are close to that required to produce a point-of-care device which would be of benefit in resource poor regions, and could be performed on an USB stick or similar low power device.

Concepts: Antiretroviral drug, HIV, Viral load, Type I and type II errors, Integrated circuit, Transistor, CMOS, File system


Background Antiretroviral medications that are used as prophylaxis can prevent acquisition of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection. However, in clinical trials among African women, the incidence of HIV-1 infection was not reduced, probably because of low adherence. Longer-acting methods of drug delivery, such as vaginal rings, may simplify use of antiretroviral medications and provide HIV-1 protection. Methods We conducted a phase 3, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of a monthly vaginal ring containing dapivirine, a non-nucleoside HIV-1 reverse-transcriptase inhibitor, involving women between the ages of 18 and 45 years in Malawi, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Results Among the 2629 women who were enrolled, 168 HIV-1 infections occurred: 71 in the dapivirine group and 97 in the placebo group (incidence, 3.3 and 4.5 per 100 person-years, respectively). The incidence of HIV-1 infection in the dapivirine group was lower by 27% (95% confidence interval [CI], 1 to 46; P=0.05) than that in the placebo group. In an analysis that excluded data from two sites that had reduced rates of retention and adherence, the incidence of HIV-1 infection in the dapivirine group was lower by 37% (95% CI, 12 to 56; P=0.007) than that in the placebo group. In a post hoc analysis, higher rates of HIV-1 protection were observed among women over the age of 21 years (56%; 95% CI, 31 to 71; P<0.001) but not among those 21 years of age or younger (-27%; 95% CI, -133 to 31; P=0.45), a difference that was correlated with reduced adherence. The rates of adverse medical events and antiretroviral resistance among women who acquired HIV-1 infection were similar in the two groups. Conclusions A monthly vaginal ring containing dapivirine reduced the risk of HIV-1 infection among African women, with increased efficacy in subgroups with evidence of increased adherence. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health; number, NCT01617096 .).

Concepts: Antiretroviral drug, HIV, AIDS, Immune system, Clinical trial, Virus, Africa, Placebo


Combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) has significantly increased survival among HIV-positive adults in the United States (U.S.) and Canada, but gains in life expectancy for this region have not been well characterized. We aim to estimate temporal changes in life expectancy among HIV-positive adults on ART from 2000-2007 in the U.S. and Canada.

Concepts: Antiretroviral drug, HIV, AIDS, United States, Poverty in the United States, U.S. state, Canada, Humid subtropical climate


Timely assessment of the burden of HIV/AIDS is essential for policy setting and programme evaluation. In this report from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015 (GBD 2015), we provide national estimates of levels and trends of HIV/AIDS incidence, prevalence, coverage of antiretroviral therapy (ART), and mortality for 195 countries and territories from 1980 to 2015.

Concepts: Antiretroviral drug, HIV, AIDS, Protease inhibitor, Epidemiology, Medical statistics, Evaluation, Prevalence


Expanded access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) using universal test and treat (UTT) has been suggested as a strategy to eliminate HIV in South Africa within 7 y based on an influential mathematical modeling study. However, the underlying deterministic model was criticized widely, and other modeling studies did not always confirm the study’s finding. The objective of our study is to better understand the implications of different model structures and assumptions, so as to arrive at the best possible predictions of the long-term impact of UTT and the possibility of elimination of HIV.

Concepts: Antiretroviral drug, HIV, AIDS, Protease inhibitor, Viral load, Mathematics, Africa, South Africa


Many mathematical models have investigated the impact of expanding access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) on new HIV infections. Comparing results and conclusions across models is challenging because models have addressed slightly different questions and have reported different outcome metrics. This study compares the predictions of several mathematical models simulating the same ART intervention programmes to determine the extent to which models agree about the epidemiological impact of expanded ART.

Concepts: Antiretroviral drug, HIV, AIDS, Protease inhibitor, Infectious disease, Africa, South Africa, Mathematical model


Universal HIV testing and immediate antiretroviral therapy for infected individuals has been proposed as a way of reducing the transmission of HIV and thereby bringing the HIV epidemic under control. It is unclear whether transmission during early HIV infection–before individuals are likely to have been diagnosed with HIV and started on antiretroviral therapy–will compromise the effectiveness of treatment as prevention. This article presents two opposing viewpoints by Powers, Miller, and Cohen, and Williams and Dye, followed by a commentary by Fraser.

Concepts: Antiretroviral drug, HIV, AIDS, Protease inhibitor, Viral load, Infectious disease, Infection, United States Supreme Court cases


Throughout Asia, people who use drugs are confined in facilities referred to as compulsory drug detention and rehabilitation centers. The limited transparency and accessibility of these centers has posed a significant challenge to evaluating detainees and detention conditions directly. Despite HIV being highly prevalent in this type of confined setting, direct evaluation of detainees with HIV and their access to medical care has yet to be reported in the literature.

Concepts: Antiretroviral drug, HIV, AIDS, Protease inhibitor, Medicine, Medical statistics, Illness, Legal terms


Failure of antiretroviral regimens containing elvitegravir (EVG) and raltegravir (RAL) can result in the appearance of integrase inhibitor (INI) drug-resistance mutations (DRMs). While several INI DRMs have been identified, the evolution of EVG DRMs and the linkage of these DRMs with protease inhibitor (PI) and reverse transcriptase inhibitor (RTI) DRMs have not been studied at the clonal level. We examined the development of INI DRMs in 10 patients failing EVG-containing regimens over time, and the linkage of INI DRMs with PI and RTI DRMs in these patients plus 6 RAL-treated patients. A one-step RT-nested PCR protocol was used to generate a 2.7 kB amplicon that included the PR, RT, and IN coding region, and standard cloning and sequencing techniques were used to determine DRMs in 1,277 clones (mean 21 clones per time point). Results showed all patients had multiple PI, NRTI, and/or NNRTI DRMs at baseline, but no primary INI DRM. EVG-treated patients developed from 2 to 6 strains with different primary INI DRMs as early as 2 weeks after initiation of treatment, predominantly as single mutations. The prevalence of these strains fluctuated and new strains, and/or strains with new combinations of INI DRMs, developed over time. Final failure samples (weeks 14 to 48) typically showed a dominant strain with multiple mutations or N155H alone. Single N155H or multiple mutations were also observed in RAL-treated patients at virologic failure. All patient strains showed evidence of INI DRM co-located with single or multiple PI and/or RTI DRMs on the same viral strand. Our study shows that EVG treatment can select for a number of distinct INI-resistant strains whose prevalence fluctuates over time. Continued appearance of new INI DRMs after initial INI failure suggests a potent, highly dynamic selection of INI resistant strains that is unaffected by co-location with PI and RTI DRMs.

Concepts: Antiretroviral drug, HIV, Reverse transcriptase inhibitor, Reverse transcriptase, Zidovudine, Antiretroviral drugs, Integrase inhibitor, Integrase


Human immunodeficiency virus type 2 (HIV-2) is intrinsically resistant to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and exhibits reduced susceptibility to several of the protease inhibitors used for antiretroviral therapy of HIV-1. Thus, there is a pressing need to identify new classes of antiretroviral agents that are active against HIV-2. Although recent data suggest that the integrase strand transfer inhibitors raltegravir and elvitegravir may be beneficial, mutations that are known to confer resistance to these drugs in HIV-1 have been reported in HIV-2 sequences from patients receiving raltegravir-containing regimens. To examine the phenotypic effects of mutations that emerge during raltegravir treatment, we constructed a panel of HIV-2 integrase variants using site-directed mutagenesis and measured the susceptibilities of the mutant strains to raltegravir and elvitegravir in culture. The effects of single and multiple amino acid changes on HIV-2 replication capacity were also evaluated. Our results demonstrate that secondary replacements in the integrase protein play key roles in the development of integrase inhibitor resistance in HIV-2. Collectively, our data define three major mutational pathways to high-level raltegravir and elvitegravir resistance: i) E92Q+Y143C or T97A+Y143C, ii) G140S+Q148R, and iii) E92Q+N155H. These findings preclude the sequential use of raltegravir and elvitegravir (or vice versa) for HIV-2 treatment and provide important information for clinical monitoring of integrase inhibitor resistance in HIV-2-infected individuals.

Concepts: Antiretroviral drug, HIV, AIDS, Reverse transcriptase inhibitor, Reverse transcriptase, Integrase inhibitor, Raltegravir, Integrase