Plus news: Drug resistant HIV threat looming
Article on first results of the PASER study.
Plus news published an article on the looming threat of HIV drug resistance in Africa. The reason for the article was the publication of the paper: HIV-1 Drug Resistance Mutations are present in six percent of persons initiating antiretroviral therapy in Lusaka, Zambia. This is the first paper in a series of papers on the PASER results. The PharmAccess African Studies to Evaluate Resistance (PASER) is monitoring resistance in the population in six African countries. The results discussed in this paper indicate that in the 3 PASER clinics in Lusaka in 5,7 percent of the 548 participants HIV-1 drug resistance mutations are found. Indicating that the HIV-virus this group of 6 percent in Lusaka carries is already resistant, or partly resistant to the standard first-line treatment in Zambia, the treatment will therefore not have the maximal effect in suppressing the virus. The fact that they have not been exposed to any therapy before means that the mutated virus was transmitted. This group has to be switched to other first-line medication or even second-line therapy to successfully suppress the virus. Second-line therapy is 5-8 times more expensive than 1st line therapy and is not always available in clinics in Africa.
PLUS news interviewed the lead author, Dr Raph Hamers of the PharmAccess Foundation in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Prof Tobias Rinke de Wit, program director of PASER on this looming threat: what do these results mean for effective treatment options in Zambia and the rest of Africa? One conclusion is that creating an Affordable Resistance Test for Africa (ART-A) can help in keeping track of the mutations of the virus to ensure effective treatments options now and in the future. Click here for full article.