Nevirapine Resistance in Previously Nevirapine-Unexposed HIV-1-Infected Kenyan Infants Initiating Early Antiretroviral Therapy.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


AIDS research and human retroviruses, Volume 31, Issue 8, p.783-91 (2015)


Nevirapine (NVP) resistance occurs frequently in infants following NVP use in prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) regimens. However, among previously NVP-unexposed infants treated with NVP-antiretroviral therapy (ART), the development and impact of NVP resistance have not been well characterized. In a prospective clinical trial providing early ART to HIV-infected infants<5 months of age in Kenya (OPH03 study), we followed NVP-unexposed infants who initiated NVP-ART for 12 months. Viral loads were assessed and resistance determined using a population-based genotypic resistance assay. Of 99 infants screened, 33 had no prior NVP exposure, 22 of whom were initiated on NVP-ART. Among 19 infants with follow-up, seven (37%) infants developed resistance: one at 3 months and six at 6 months after ART initiation. The cumulative probability of NVP resistance was 5.9% at 3 months and 43.5% at 6 months. Baseline HIV RNA levels (p=0.7) and other characteristics were not associated with developing resistance. Post-ART, higher virus levels at visits preceding the detection of resistance were significantly associated with increased detection of resistance (p=0.004). Virus levels after 6 and 12 months of ART were significantly higher in infants with resistance than those without (p=0.007, p=0.030, respectively). Among infants without previous NVP exposure, development of NVP resistance was frequent and was associated with virologic failure during the first year of ART. Earlier development of NVP resistance in infants than in adults initiating NVP-ART may be due to longer viremia following ART or inadequate NVP levels resulting from NVP lead-in dosing. The development of NVP resistance may, in part, explain the superiority of protease inhibitor-based ART in infants.