One of the problems with the development of current therapies for HIV infection is that the virus rapidly develops resistance to drugs such as reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitors. CDC researchers have developed an enzyme-based methodology for detecting phenotypic resistance to antiretroviral drugs whose mode of action decreases the efficiency of the HIV-1 RT enzyme.
This invention will enhance clinical monitoring by providing data that tells physicians if and when the HIV-1 infecting a patient has become resistant to commonly used antiretroviral drugs, such as zidovudine/azidothymidine (AZT), nevirapine and lamivudine (3TC). This invention provides physicians and patient care facilities with a simple, rapid lab test that will tell them when a particular antiviral drug is not or no longer beneficial for a patient. Additionally this technology is superior to current culture-based methods for determining phenotypic resistance to HIV antiviral drugs, which are time-consuming and labor-intensive and therefore impractical for clinical monitoring.