Viruses 14 (4) - [2022-03-30; online 2022-03-30]
Dolutegravir-based antiretroviral therapy (ART) has been scaled up in many developing countries, including Ethiopia. However, subtype-dependent polymorphic differences might influence the occurrence of HIV-drug-resistance mutations (HIVDRMs). We analyzed the prevalence of pre-treatment integrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI) HIVDRMs and naturally occurring polymorphisms (NOPs) of the integrase gene, using plasma samples collected as part of the national HIVDR survey in Ethiopia in 2017. We included a total of 460 HIV-1 integrase gene sequences from INSTI-naïve (n = 373 ART-naïve and n = 87 ART-experienced) patients. No dolutegravir-associated HIVDRMs were detected, regardless of previous exposure to ART. However, we found E92G in one ART-naïve patient specimen and accessory mutations in 20/460 (4.3%) of the specimens. Moreover, among the 288 integrase amino acid positions of the subtype C, 187/288 (64.9%) were conserved (<1.0% variability). Analysis of the genetic barrier showed that the Q148H/K/R dolutegravir resistance pathway was less selected in subtype C. Docking analysis of the dolutegravir showed that protease- and reverse-transcriptase-associated HIVDRMs did not affect the native structure of the HIV-1 integrase. Our results support the implementation of a wide scale-up of dolutegravir-based regimes. However, the detection of polymorphisms contributing to INSTI warrants the continuous surveillance of INSTI resistance.