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Viral Genetic Diversity and Polymorphisms in a Cohort of HIV-1-Infected Patients Eligible for Initiation of Antiretroviral Therapy in Abuja, Nigeria
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  • Alternative Title:
    AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses
  • Description:
    Studying the genetic diversity and natural polymorphisms of HIV-1 would benefit our understanding of HIV drug resistance (HIVDR) development and predict treatment outcomes. In this study, we have characterized the HIV-1 genetic diversity and natural polymorphisms at the 5' region of the pol gene encompassing the protease (PR) and reverse transcriptase (RT) from 271 plasma specimens collected in 2008 from HIV-1-infected patients who were eligible for initiating antiretroviral therapy in Abuja (Nigeria). The analysis indicated that the predominant subtype was subtype G (31.0%), followed by CRF02-AG (19.2 %), CRF43-02G (18.5%), and A/CRF36-cpx (11.4%); the remaining (19.9%) were other subtypes and circulating (CRF) and unique (URF) recombinant forms. Recombinant viruses (68.6%) were the major viral strains in the region. Eighty-four subtype G sequences were further mainly classified into two major and two minor clusters; sequences in the two major clusters were closely related to the HIV-1 strains in two of the three major subtype G clusters detected worldwide. Those in the two minor clusters appear to be new subtype G strains circulating only in Abuja. The pretreatment DR prevalence was <3%; however, numerous natural polymorphisms were present. Eleven polymorphic mutations (G16E, K20I, L23P, E35D, M36I, N37D/S/T, R57K, L63P, and V82I) were detected in the PR that were subtype or CRF specific while only three mutations (D123N, I135T, and I135V) were identified in the RT. Overall, this study indicates an evolving HIV-1 epidemic in Abuja with recombinant viruses becoming the dominant strains and the emergence of new subtype G strains; pretreatment HIVDR was low and the occurrence of natural polymorphism in the PR region was subtype or CRF dependent.
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