Quantification of the impact of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase and protease mutations on the efficacy of rescue HAART

Stefania Paolucci, Fausto Baldanti, Renato Maserati, Francesco Castelli, Fredy Suter, Franco Maggiolo, Angelo Pan, Giuseppe Gerna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The reduction in the efficacy of rescue treatment (administered on a clinical basis) due to drug resistance was retrospectively quantified in 55 human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected patients failing highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) by using a novel score calculation system based upon HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) and protease (PR) mutations. Patients were all naive for nelfinavir (NFV) and efavirenz (EFV) and were assigned to one of the following rescue therapy schedules: (i) 17 patients received NFV+EFV+stavudine (d4T) (group A); (ii) 14 patients received NFV+saquinavir (SQV)+lamivudine (3TC)+d4T/zidovudine (AZT) (group B); (iii) 19 patients received NFV+d4T+didanosine (ddI)/3TC/zalcitabine (ddC) (group C); (iv) five patients received miscellaneous treatments including NFV (group D). Responders were considered patients showing a drop in HIV-1 RNA level>0.5log10 after 3 months of therapy. Forty-eight (28 responders and 20 non-responders) out of 55 patients completed the first 3 months of rescue therapy and reduction in HIV-1 viral load was found to be significantly higher in group A compared to groups B and C (81.2% responders vs. 38.5 and 40.0%, respectively). At baseline, no patient carried EFV- or d4T-resistant HIV-1 strains, despite prolonged administration of d4T, while 41/48 (87.2%) patients had mutations conferring resistance to NFV in the absence of previous treatment with this drug. A significant inverse correlation between reduction in viral load and reduction in therapy efficacy due to drug resistance, as determined by the score calculation system, was found (r=0.62). A cut-off value of 36% reduction in therapy efficacy showed a positive predictive value (capacity to detect failure of rescue treatment) of 81.2% and a negative predictive value (ability to detect successful treatment) of 75.8%. In addition, 45 out of 48 patients completed also the 9-12 month period of rescue therapy and 10/28 responders had a rebound in HIV-1 viral load level detected after the first 3 months of rescue therapy. Of these, 5/7 (71.4%) showed a further reduction in rescue therapy efficacy due to the emergence of new mutations. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-114
Number of pages14
JournalAntiviral Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Drug combinations
  • Protease
  • Resistance
  • Reverse transcriptase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Pharmacology


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