Intrapatient Evolutionary Dynamics of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 in Individuals Undergoing Alternative Treatment Strategies with Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors
Structured treatment interruption (STI) has been trialed as an alternative to lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART). We retrospectively performed single genome sequencing of the HIV-1 pol region from three patients representing different scenarios. They were either failing on continuous therapy (CT-F), failing STI (STI-F), or suppressing on STI (STI-S). Over 460 genomes were generated from three to five different time points over a 2-year period. We found multiple-linked-resistant mutations in both treatment failures. However, the CT-F patient showed a stepwise accumulation of diverse, linked mutations whereas the STI-F patient had lineage turnover between treatment periods with recirculation of wild-type and resistant variants from reservoirs. The STI-F patient showed a 7-fold increase in the third codon position substitution rate relative to the first and second positions compared to a 2-fold increase for CT-F and increased purifying selection in the pol gene (62 vs. 22 sites, respectively). An understanding of intrapatient viral dynamics could guide the future direction of treatment interruption strategies.