Zhixin Lu.JPG

MS. ZHIXIN LU

Preventing HIV Drug Resistance with Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Rollout

Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine (TDF/FTC; marketed as Truvada), is the only FDA-approved antiretroviral for use in pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to help preventing HIV infection. However, Truvada is also the WHO recommended first-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) for patients with HIV infection, which creates concern that the same drugs used for treatment and prevention would increase the spread of drug resistance.
Recent data from clinical trials has shown that the potential for TDF/FTC PrEP to prevent HIV infection far exceeds the risk of resistance that could occur with its use. We set out to ask the question: what is the risk of resistance with PrEP rollout? By applying Next Generation Sequencing technology, ongoing researches focus on validating rollout assays to improve HIV resistance testing sensitivity and monitoring seroconverters from PrEP roll-out program for ARV resistance in selected clinics in South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe.
We hope by improving HIV diagnostics, identifying the optimal frequency of HIV testing and gaining a better understanding of cross-resistance between ART and PrEP through analysis of patient-derived viruses, the benefits from both PrEP and ART can be realized and sustained and at the same time the spread of HIV drug resistance will be limited.

Clinical Study