In 2019, the World Health Organization began to recommend Dolutegravir as the preferred first-line treatment for HIV in most populations in the world. Dolutegravir was dubbed a ‘wonder drug’ because it was safe, potent and cost-effective and scientists had seen no drug resistance against it in clinical trials. However, there is little data on the success of Dolutegravir against circulating strains of HIV in Africa.
In a study published on World AIDS Day, 1st of December 2020, in Nature Communications, an international team of researchers from South Africa, the UK and the USA examined the genetic code of over 1000 HIV genomes to determine if drug resistance mutations in 874 volunteers living with HIV, affected their treatment success. The individuals were enrolled in a clinical trial for people initiating HIV treatment to compare two drug regimens: Efavirenz, an NNRTI and prior first-line therapy in the region, and Dolutegravir.