A sequencing test may be able to detect HIV drug resistance mutations that conventional tests fail to identify, according to research presented at the 68th American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) Annual Scientific Meeting and Clinical Lab Expo in Philadelphia.1

A team of researchers led by Gerd Michel, PhD, Charlie Lee, PhD, and Elian Rakhmanaliev, PhD, from Vela Diagnostics in Singapore, set out to develop a sequencing-based test, dubbed Sentosa SQ HIV-1 genotyping assay, that can detect HIV drug resistance mutations.

To evaluate the efficacy of Sentosa, the researchers compared its performance with that of a Sanger sequencing-based test, the TruGene HIV-1 genotyping kit, which is not currently available. With both tests, the researchers examined 111 blood samples from HIV-1 patients for mutations in the virus’s protease and reverse transcriptase genes, which are the two main genes typically analyzed in drug resistance testing.

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The Sentosa test detected 100% of all drug resistance mutations in the protease gene compared with 90.45% detected by  TruGene. Sentosa  identified 98.16% of all drug resistance mutations in the reverse transcriptase gene compared with  74.48% identified by  TruGene. In total,  Sentosa detected 130 drug resistance mutations not found by TruGene, whereas  TruGene only found 8 drug resistance mutations that the Sentosa test missed.

Officials with Vela Diagnostics said in a prepared statement that they plan to make  this test available to select collaborators this summer.2


1  Rakhmanaliev E, Ariyaratne P, Nimitsuntiwong P, et al.   Scientific Poster B-063: Next Generation Sequencing-based HIV-1 Drug Resistance Monitoring System, and Scientific Posters B-049, B-055, and B058. Presented at: AACC Annual Scientific Meeting. July 31-Aug. 4, 2016. Philadelphia, Pa.

2. First next-generation sequencing test for HIV drug resistance could help combat AIDS worldwide [press release]. Philadelphia, PA: AACC;August 3, 2016.