Dolutegravir, the current first-line treatment for HIV, may not be as effective as hoped in sub-Saharan Africa, suggests new research published on World AIDS Day. The study finds that this so-called ‘wonder drug’ may be less effective in patients resistant to older drugs.
As HIV copies itself and replicates, it can develop errors, or ‘mutations’, in its genetic code (its RNA). While a drug may initially be able to supress or even kill the virus, certain mutations can allow the virus to develop resistance to its effects. If a mutated strain begins to spread within a population, it can mean once-effective drugs are no longer able to treat people.
HIV treatment usually consists of a cocktail of drugs that includes a type of drug known as a non-nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI). However, in recent years, HIV has begun to develop resistance to NNRTIs. Between 10% and 15% of patients in