first-ever genetic sequencing test to detect HIV drug
- Could aid in better treatment for HIV
- Assist in curbing resistance towards anti-retroviral
is a syndrome that is caused due to the infection of
the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). HIV
affects the body's immune system and lowers the body's
ability to fight off infections. There are different strains of HIV that infect
humans and they are broadly classified into HIV1 and HIV2.
After the initial infection of HIV into the human body, it could take
even up to 10 to 15 years before symptoms begin to develop.
‘Better detection of HIV drug resistance will aid in providing better care.’
Global Statistics on HIV Infection
- 36.9 million people
across the world are currently infected with HIV
highest number of people infected with HIV is found to be in middle or lower
- 2.6 million children across the world are
infected with HIV. Mother to child transmission is the leading cause of HIV among children.
A large number of global efforts focus on controlling the spread of
disease, with the U.N fixing the year 2030 as the "End of AIDS". However, the
numbers continue to rise. "I don't believe the slogan 'The End of AIDS by 2030'
is realistic and it could be counterproductive. It could suggest that it's
fine, it's all over and we can move to something else. No. AIDS is still one of
the biggest killers in the world." said Prof Peter Piot who was the first
executive director of UNAIDS and director of the London School of Hygiene and
The pessimism revolving around the control of HIV spread is largely due
to inequality in the distribution of medication and the increasing scourge of
Drug Resistance In HIV
HIV has the ability to mutate and then reproduce with the mutation
intact, leading to failure of anti-retroviral therapy
. The limited treatment
options available to treat HIV infection make drug resistance to
anti-retroviral therapy catastrophic. The result is an increase in HIV
incidence, morbidity and mortality.
Advantages of Drug Resistance Testing
to HIV medications
affects the number of HIV patients receiving
effective treatment. It is important to have drug resistance testing carried
out to facilitate
Existing Sequencing Test for HIV Drug Resistance
- More effective
treatment for HIV infection
- To ascertain if the individual
was infected with drug resistance strain at the onset of infection or during
the course of treatment.
- To monitor progress of the
Most of the genomic sequencing kits that are available are now outdated
and are no longer in use. The only test still in existence has the following
First Next Generation Sequencing Test for Drug Resistance In HIV
- It uses the Sanger's
method of sequencing which is now replaced by better methods.
- Drug resistance that occurs at a frequency below 15-20% cannot
- The results take a long time, about one to two
Dr. Gerd Michel and colleagues from Vela Diagnostics in Singapore have
created a next generation genome sequencing kit to detect HIV resistance. The
new test 'Sentosa SQ HIV-1 genotyping assay' offers hope to a future of better
drug resistance testing.
This new-age testing offers an integration between automatic sample
processing as well as analysis of the data obtained using a software.
Comparison Between Sentosa SQ HIV-1 Genotyping Assay and TruGene HIV-1 Genotyping
The efficiency of Sentosa SQ HIV-1 genotyping assay was compared with
that of TruGene HIV-1 genotyping kit which is based on the Sanger's method of
genome sequencing. The viruses' protease gene and the reverse transcriptase
gene were analyzed from 111 blood sample of HIV-1 positive patients.
Dr. Michel added "To our knowledge, nobody else has developed an assay
like this. Now we have the opportunity to do HIV drug resistance testing much
faster, at a lower cost, and also to test for mutations that are not visible
with Sanger sequencing. The impact of these mutations that have not been seen
by Sanger is not known yet. But now we have the tools to detect them so that
researchers can determine how relevant they are clinically and physicians can
determine if there should be a change in treatment."
Results of the Comparison Study
- Sentosa SQ HIV-1
test found 100% mutations in all virus protease genes when compared with 90.45%
detected by TruGene HIV-1.
- Sentosa SQ HIV-1 test found
98.16% mutations in reverse transcriptase genes when compared with 74.48%
detected by TruGene HIV-1.
- The Sentosa SQ HIV-1 test
detected 130 drug resistance genes not detected by TruGene
- TruGene HIV-1 found only 8 drug resistance gene
mutations that Sentosa SQ HIV-1 test missed
- Sentosa SQ
HIV-1 test detected drug resistance in the HIV Integrase gene that is not
detected by TruGene. The HIV Integrase gene shows high incidence of developing
drug resistance through mutations in the U.S population.
- Sentosa SQ HIV-1 test provides results withing two and a
half days, which is a lot faster than TruGene test.
Vela Diagnostics plans to bring out this innovative test for drug
resistance testing soon, raising hopes for better control and treatment of HIV.
- AIDS Statistics - (https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/global-statistics/)
- Drug Resistance - (https://aidsinfo.nih.gov/education-materials/fact-sheets/21/56/drug-resistance)
- HIV Drug Resistance - (http://www.who.int/hiv/topics/drugresistance/en/)
- Resistance Testing - (https://aidsinfo.nih.gov/education-materials/glossary/630/resistance-testing)