3 years ago

Longitudinal sequencing of HIV-1 infected patients with low-level viremia for years while on ART shows no indications for genetic evolution of the virus

HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral therapy (ART) may present low-level viremia (LLV) above the detection level of current viral load assays. In many cases LLV is persistent but does not result in overt treatment failure or selection of drug resistant viral variants. To elucidate whether LLV reflects active virus replication, we extensively sequenced pol and env genes of the viral populations present before and during LLV in 18 patients and searched for indications of genetic evolution. Maximum likelihood phylogenetic trees were inspected for temporal structure both visually and by linear regression analysis of root-to-tip and pairwise distances. Viral coreceptor tropism was assessed at different time points before and during LLV. In none of the patients consistent indications for genetic evolution were found over a median period of 4.8 years of LLV. As such these findings could not provide evidence that active virus replication is the main driver of LLV.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0042682217302210

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