Drug-Resistant HIV Can Be Transmitted From Mother to Child, Study Says
Strains of drug-resistant HIV can be transmitted from mother to child and remain in an infant's immune system for years, according to a study published in the April 5 issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases, Reuters Health reports. Deborah Persaud of Johns Hopkins University's School of Medicine and colleagues studied 21 HIV-positive infants in 10 U.S. states (Reuters Health, 4/30). The infants started antiretroviral therapy at an average age of 9.7 weeks and were treated for up to 96 weeks (Persaud et al., Journal of Infectious Diseases, 4/5).
The study found that five infants acquired a drug-resistant strain of HIV from their mothers. According to the researchers, the virus moved quickly to inactive CD4+ T cells. The virus was resistant to a class of antiretroviral drugs, known as non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, but another class of antiretrovirals, called protease inhibitors, were effective, the study found. According to Persaud, the drug-resistant HIV strains acquired by the infants from their mothers likely will never be cleared with currently available treatments (Reuters Health, 4/30). The researchers wrote that the "high rate, types and early archiving of drug-resistant HIV-1 suggests testing be considered for infants, especially when an NNRTI-based regimen is planned." They concluded that "drug-resistant outcomes in infants should be an important secondary end point in" mother-to-child transmission trials (Journal of Infectious Diseases, 4/5).
The study is available online.