Genotypic Changes in Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Associated with Loss of Suppression of Plasma Viral RNA Levels in Subjects Treated with Ritonavir (Norvir) Monotherapy
Journal of Virology
Ten subjects received 600 to 1,200 mg of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) protease inhibitor ritonavir per day. Following 2 weeks of therapy, plasma HIV RNA levels decreased by a mean of 1.57 (range, 0.89 to 1.96) log units. With continued therapy, HIV RNA levels began to rise in eight subjects. The initial rise in plasma RNA levels was temporally associated with the development and quantitative increase in the V82 resistance mutation. Doubling times of the V82A mutant virus were
... estimated to be 2.4 to 4.8 days. An L63P/A mutation was commonly present at baseline even in subjects with a durable virologic response. The concomitant acquisition of an L63P/A mutation with the V82A/F mutation at the time when plasma RNA levels rebounded suggests a role for the L63P/A mutation in improving the fitness of the V82A/F mutation. Subsequent additional genotypic changes at codons 54 and 84 were often associated with further increases in plasma RNA levels. Ongoing viral replication in the presence of drugs resulted in the appearance of additional genotypic changes, including the L90M saquinavir resistance mutation, and decreased phenotypic susceptibility. The relative fitness of the protease V82A ritonavir resistance mutation and reverse transcriptase T215Y/F zidovudine resistance mutation following drug withdrawal were estimated to be 96 to 98% that of the wild type. Durability of the virologic response was associated with plasma RNA levels at the nadir. A virologic response beyond 60 days was not observed unless plasma HIV RNA levels were suppressed below 2,000 copies/ml, consistent with estimates from V82A doubling times for selection of a single resistance mutation to dominate the replicating population.