Antiviral drug resistance and the need for development of new HIV-1 reverse transcriptase inhibitors

Eugene L. Asahchop, Mark A. Wainberg*, Richard D. Sloan, Cécile L. Tremblay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) consists of a combination of drugs to achieve maximal virological response and reduce the potential for the emergence of antiviral resistance. Despite being the first antivirals described to be effective against HIV, reverse transcriptase inhibitors remain the cornerstone of HAART. There are two broad classes of reverse transcriptase inhibitor, the nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) and nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs). Since the first such compounds were developed, viral resistance to them has inevitably been described; this necessitates the continuous development of novel compounds within each class. In this review, we consider the NRTIs and NNRTIs currently in both preclinical and clinical development or approved for second-line therapy and describe the patterns of resistance associated with their use as well as the underlying mechanisms that have been described. Due to reasons of both affordability and availability, some reverse transcriptase inhibitors with a low genetic barrier are more commonly used in resource-limited settings. Their use results in the emergence of specific patterns of antiviral resistance and so may require specific actions to preserve therapeutic options for patients in such settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5000-5008
Number of pages9
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number10
Early online date12 Sept 2012
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


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