Prolonged use of anti-retroviral compounds in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection selects for drug-resistant and often mutidrug-resistant viral variants. Drug-resistance mutations may also affect viral fitness. Interestingly, recent research has indicated that some of the unfit drug-resistant variants may be less pathogenic, suggesting that decreased viral fitness is beneficial for the host and may be driven by specific treatments during anti-HIV-1 infection. A second potential antiviral strategy starting with profound inteference with viral fitness aims at forcing viruses towards lethal mutagenesis (the so-called "error catastrophe"). This review summarizes the methods for addressing HIV-1 fitness in vitro and ex vivo, the current understanding of clinical implications of reduced HIV-1 fitness, and the potential use of anti-HIV-1 strategies aiming at modulating viral fitness. Finally, it is emphasized how the peculiar features of HIV-1 quasispecies (displaying two different forms of memory, a replicative and a non-replicative form) may sharply influence the design of future diagnostic methodologies for fitness analysis.
|Number of pages||8|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2004|
- Error catastrophe
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)