HIV-1 subtype C drug-resistance background among ARV-naive adults in Botswana

Hermann Bussmann, Vladimir Novitsky, William Wester, Trevor Peter, Kereng Masupu, Lesego Gabaitiri, Soyeon Kim, Simane Gaseitsiwe, Thumbi Ndung'u, Richard Marlink, Ibou Thior, Max Essex

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29 Citations (Scopus)


Current HIV-1 antiretroviral (ARV) drug resistance knowledge is limited to HIV-1 subtype B (HIV-1B). We addressed whether unique genetic and phenotypic properties of HIV-1 subtype C (HIV-1C), southern Africa's most prevalent subtype, may foment earlier and/or distinct resistance mutations. Population-level HIV-1C genotypes were evaluated with respect to drug resistance prevalence before Botswana's public ARV treatment programme began. Viruses were genotyped from 11 representative districts of northern and southern Botswana, and consensus sequences from these 71 individuals and 51 previously reported sequences from HIV-positive blood donors were constructed. Phylogenetic analysis classified all 71 sequences but one, which exhibited pol gene mosaicism, as HIV-1C. The protease and reverse transcriptase coding region had no detectable known primary mutations associated with HIV-1 B protease inhibitor (P1) drug resistance. Secondary mutations associated with P1 drug resistance were found in all sequences. Several HIV-1 C-specific polymorphic sites were found across the pol gene. Northern and southern Botswana viral sequences showed no significant differences from each other. Population genotyping shows that, without countrywide ARV treatment, HIV-1C-infected Batswana harbour virtually no primary mutations known to confer resistance to the three major HIV-1B ARV drug classes. Some secondary P1 mutations and polymorphic sites in the protease enzyme necessitate continuous population monitoring, particularly after introduction of countrywide ARV treatment in Botswana. Although its P1 resistance development rate and kinetics are not known, our data may suggest increased susceptibility and readiness of HIV-1C to develop resistance under drug pressure when the P1 class of drugs is used.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-115
Number of pages13
JournalAntiviral Chemistry and Chemotherapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Virology


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