Evaluation of a benchtop HIV ultradeep pyrosequencing drug resistance assay in the clinical laboratory

Boaz Avidor*, Shirley Girshengorn, Natalia Matus, Hadass Talio, Svetlana Achsanov, Irene Zeldis, Ilana S. Fratty, Eugene Katchman, Tal Brosh-Nissimov, David Hassin, Danny Alon, Zvi Bentwich, Israel Yust, Sharon Amit, Relly Forer, Ina Vulih Shultsman, Dan Turnerb

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Detection of low-abundance drug resistance mutations (DRMs) of HIV-1 is an evolving approach in clinical practice. Ultradeep pyrosequencing has shown to be effective in detecting such mutations. The lack of a standardized commercially based assay limits the wide use of this method in clinical settings. 454 Life Sciences (Roche) is developing an HIV ultradeep pyrosequencing assay for their benchtop sequencer. We assessed the prototype plate in the clinical laboratory. Plasma samples genotyped by the standardized TruGene kit were retrospectively tested by this assay. Drug-treated subjects failing therapy and drug-naive patients were included. DRM analysis was based on the International AIDS Society USA DRM list and the Stanford algorithm. The prototype assay detected all of the DRMs detected by TruGene and additional 50 low-abundance DRMs. Several patients had lowabundance D67N, K70R, and M184V reverse transcriptase inhibitor mutations that persisted long after discontinuation of the drug that elicited these mutations. Additional patient harbored low-abundance V32I major protease inhibitor mutation, which under darunavir selection evolved later to be detected by TruGene. Stanford analysis suggested that some of the low-abundance DRMs were likely to affect the resistance burden in these subjects. The prototype assay performs at least as well as TruGene and has the advantage of detecting low-abundance drug resistance mutations undetected by TruGene. Its ease of use and lab-scale platform will likely facilitate its use in the clinical laboratory. The extent to which the detection of low-abundance DRMs will affect patient management is still unknown, but it is hoped that use of such an assay in clinical practice will help resolve this important question.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)880-886
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


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