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Drug-Resistant HIV Can Evolve to Become More Fit

Drug-Resistant HIV Can Evolve to Become More Fit


After the transmission of drug-resistance HIV, the virus can evolve to become more fit and cause HIV-related illnesses, quashing hopes by some researchers that drug-resistant strains of HIV would remain less able to cause serious health complications, according to a study in the December 15 edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases. The scientists monitored HIV disease progression in a 32-year-old man who was initially infected with HIV with 12 genetic mutations conveying resistance to reverse transcriptase inhibitors and protease inhibitors. During the monitoring period, five of the mutations reverted or disappeared, four of which were directly associated with an increase in viral replication capacity. This ultimately led to more fit virus and a drop in CD4-cell levels, the researchers report. While calling for larger studies to confirm his team's results, lead researcher Rajesh Gandhi of Boston's Partners AIDS Research Center notes that the current research 'emphasizes that the recent increase in HIV transmission among men who have sex with men in the United States may result in acquisition of multidrug resistant virus, with very serious consequences.'

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