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Faculty & Staff Honors

Washington: New NIH Grant to Define Best Practices in New Era of HIV Treatment

A team of University of Washington researchers received a five-year, $4.3 million research project grant (R01) from the National Institutes of Health to identify genetic mutations involved in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) drug resistance.

“Resistance of HIV is increasing steadily around the world and HIV treatment is entering a new era,” says Dr. Paul Drain, one of the study’s principal investigators and an assistant professor at the University of Washington Schools of Public Health and Medicine.

Treatment for non-B HIV-1, the form of the virus most prevalent outside of the United States, has shifted toward newer and more potent drugs, such as Dolutegravir. While the drug has proven effective, especially against strains of HIV resistant to other drugs, the fast-evolving virus inevitably develops resistance to any new treatment. These new forms of drug resistance must be identified to provide optimal treatments for people living with the disease.

The grant will fund whole genome sequencing of HIV samples from around the world to identify the mutations that make the virus resistant to drugs such as Dolutegravir. Their research findings, which will be based on the outcomes of over 16,000 people receiving treatment for HIV, could upend the current standards for HIV drug resistance testing.

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