Mulugeta Kiros

H3Africa PI: Andargachew Mulu

Institution: Aksum University

Project Affiliation:


Background: With the widespread use of Integrase strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs), surveillance of HIV-1 pretreatment drug resistance is critical in optimizing antiretroviral treatment efficacy. However, despite the introduction of these drugs, data concerning Integrase strand transfer inhibitors resistance mutations (INSTI RMs) is still limited in Ethiopia. Thus, this study aimed to assess INSTI RMs and polymorphisms at the gene locus coding for Integrase among viral isolates from ART-naive HIV-1 infected Ethiopian population.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study involving isolation of HIV-1 from plasma of 49 newly diagnosed drug-naive HIV-1 infected individuals in Addis-Ababa during the period between June to December 2018. The integrase region covering the first 263 codons of blood samples was amplified and sequenced using an in-house assay. INSTIs RMs were examined using calibrated population resistance tool version 8.0 from Stanford HIV drug resistance database while both REGA version 3 online HIV-1 subtyping tool and the jumping profile Hidden Markov Model from GOBICS were used to examine HIV-1 genetic diversity.
Results: Among the 49 study participants, 1 (1/49; 2 %) harbored a major INSTIs RM (R263K). In addition, blood specimens from 14 (14/49; 28.5%) patients had accessory mutations. Among these, the M50I accessory mutation was observed in a highest frequency (13/49; 28.3%) followed by L74I (1/49; 2%), S119R (1/49; 2%), and S230N (1/49; 2%). Concerning HIV-1 subtype distribution, all the entire study subjects were detected to harbor HIV-1C strain as per the Integrase gene analysis.
Conclusions: This study showed that the level of primary HIV-1 drug resistance to INSTIs is still low in Ethiopia reflecting the cumulative natural occurrence of these mutations in the absence of selective drug pressure and supports the use of INSTIs in the country. However, continues monitoring of drug resistance should be enhanced since the virus potentially develop resistance to this drug classes as time goes by.
Keywords: HIV-1; Subtype; Integrase; Integrase strand transfer inhibitors; Polymorphism/mutations; Drug resistance; ART-naive; Ethiopia

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