Nevirapine resistance and breast-milk HIV transmission: effects of single and extended-dose nevirapine prophylaxis in subtype C HIV-infected infants

Citation: Moorthy A, Gupta A, Bhosale R, Tripathy S, Sastry J, Kulkarni S, Thakar M, Bharadwaj R, Kagal A, Bhore AV, Patil S, Kulkarni V, Venkataramani V, Balasubramanian U, Suryavanshi N, Ziemniak C, Gupte N, Bollinger R, Persaud D. Nevirapine resistance and breast-milk HIV transmission: effects of single and extended-dose nevirapine prophylaxis in subtype C HIV-infected infants. PLoS One. 2009;4(1):e4096. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004096. PMID: 19119321. PMCID: PMC2606064.

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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19119321

BACKGROUND:

Daily nevirapine (NVP) prophylaxis to HIV-exposed infants significantly reduces breast-milk HIV transmission. We assessed NVP-resistance in Indian infants enrolled in the "six-week extended-dose nevirapine" (SWEN) trial who received single-dose NVP (SD-NVP) or SWEN for prevention of breast-milk HIV transmission but who also acquired subtype C HIV infection during the first year of life.

METHODS/FINDINGS:

Standard population sequencing and cloning for viral subpopulations present at > or =5% frequency were used to determine HIV genotypes from 94% of the 79 infected Indian infants studied. Timing of infection was defined based on when an infant's blood sample first tested positive for HIV DNA. SWEN-exposed infants diagnosed with HIV by six weeks of age had a significantly higher prevalence of NVP-resistance than those who received SD-NVP, by both standard population sequencing (92% of 12 vs. 38% of 29; p = 0.002) and low frequency clonal analysis (92% of 12 vs. 59% of 29; p = 0.06). Likelihood of infection with NVP-resistant HIV through breast-milk among infants infected after age six weeks was substantial, but prevalence of NVP-resistance did not differ among SWEN or SD-NVP exposed infants by standard population sequencing (15% of 13 vs. 15% of 20; p = 1.00) and clonal analysis (31% of 13 vs. 40% of 20; p = 0.72). Types of NVP-resistance mutations and patterns of persistence at one year of age were similar between the two groups. NVP-resistance mutations did differ by timing of HIV infection; the Y181C variant was predominant among infants diagnosed in the first six weeks of life, compared to Y188C/H during late breast-milk transmission.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

Use of SWEN to prevent breast-milk HIV transmission carries a high likelihood of resistance if infection occurs in the first six weeks of life. Moreover, there was a continued risk of transmission of NVP-resistant HIV through breastfeeding during the first year of life, but did not differ between SD-NVP and SWEN groups. As with SD-NVP, the value of preventing HIV infection in a large number of infants should be considered alongside the high risk of resistance associated with extended NVP prophylaxis.

PLoS One. 2009;4(1):e4096. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004096. Epub 2009 Jan 1. PubMed PMID:19119321; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2606064

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