Director of the UCLH/UCL CBRC, Professor Deenan Pillay
Researchers at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) and University College London (UCL) were among the collaborators in the European study. It found the initial treatment of people infected with drug resistant strains of the virus was three times more likely to fail than of those infected with non drug-resistant strains.
Using the right combination of antiretroviral drugs to treat drug resistant strains of the virus could reduce this rate of failure, the study suggested.
The study, which involved researchers from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre (CBRC) based at UCLH and University College London (UCL), included a cohort of 10,000 patients across Europe. By investigating the way in which patients controlled their HIV infection, researchers have been able to suggest which combinations of antiretroviral drugs would be best.
The findings provide further evidence that full genetic testing of the viral strain before treatment starts is an important part of effective HIV treatment. In Europe and the US, where around 10-15% of patients are infected with drug-resistant strains of HIV, genetic testing of the strain is routine, but this is not yet the case in developing countries where drug resistance is likely to rise.
Director of the UCLH/UCL CBRC, Professor Deenan Pillay, a senior author in the study, said: “The study has important implications for treatment around the world. It shows that we need to know which strain of the virus patients are infected with before we start treatment in order that we can give them the most beneficial combinations of retroviral drugs possible to prevent their treatment from failing.”
Click here for a full copy of the study, published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases.