Research Finds HIV Mutations that Causes Drug Resistance

A recent research conducted by chemists at University of California in San Diego and statisticians at Harvard University have developed a new way of tracking down mutations in HIV that can cause drug resistance.  The findings, which was published in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, would allow doctors to customize their prescriptions to particular strains of the virus found in individual patients.

Drug resistance has been the bane in HIV treatment, as its mutations (developed by poor replications) have caused the virus to "fight back" the drugs that are intended to stop HIV from spreading further within the patient’s body.

According to the report, the researchers tried to compare sequences of HIV taken from patients treated with particular drugs to those from untreated patients.  Then, they try to identify clusters of mutations that appear to be working together to keep the virus untreated.

Using the computing resources over at Center for Theoretical Biological Physics at UC San Diego, the researchers have now reported on the mutations that happened on treatment for three FDA-approved drugs:  indinavir, zidovudine, and nevirapine-each targeting a different virus enzyme.  The research is expected to work on all nine antiretroviral drugs and its relations with HIV mutations.

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