Publication Date:

01 May 2010


Micek MA, Blanco AJ, Beck IA, Dross S, Matunha L, Montoya P, Seidel K, Gantt S, Matediane E, Jamisse L, Gloyd S, Frenkel LM. (2010) Nevirapine Resistance by Timing of HIV type 1 Infection in Infants Treated with Single-dose Nevirapine. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. 50, no. 10, (2010): 1405



In women, single-dose nevirapine for prophylaxis against mother-to-child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) selects for nevirapine-resistant HIV-1, which subsequently decays rapidly. We hypothesized that the selection, acquisition, and decay of nevirapine-resistant HIV-1 differs in infants, varying by the timing of HIV-1 infection.

We conducted a prospective, observational study of 740 Mozambican infants receiving single-dose nevirapine prophylaxis and determined the timing of infection and concentrations of nevirapine-resistant HIV-1 over time.

Infants with established in utero infection had a high rate (87.0%) of selection of nevirapine-resistant HIV-1 mutants, which rapidly decayed to undetectable levels. The few without nevirapine resistance received zidovudine with single-dose nevirapine and/or their mothers took alternative antiretroviral drugs. Infants with acute in utero infection had a lower rate of nevirapine-resistant HIV-1 (33.3%; P =.006, compared with established in utero infection), but mutants persisted over time. Infants with peripartum infection also had a lower rate of nevirapine-resistant HIV-1 (38.1%; P =.001, compared with established in utero infection) but often acquired 100% mutant virus that persisted over time (P =.017, compared with established in utero infection).

The detection and persistence of nevirapine-resistant HIV-1 in infants after single-dose nevirapine therapy vary by the timing of infection and the antiretroviral regimen. In infants with persistent high-level nevirapine-resistant HIV-1, nevirapine-based antiretroviral therapy is unlikely to ever be efficacious because of concentrations in long-lived viral reservoirs. However, the absence or decay of nevirapine-resistant HIV-1 in many infants suggests that nevirapine antiretroviral therapy may be effective if testing can identify these individuals.


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