Intact HIV proviruses persist in children seven to nine years after initiation of antiretroviral therapy in the first year of life
Katusiime, Mary Grace
Halvas, Elias Konstantine
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In adults starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) during acute infection, 2% of proviruses that persist on ART are genetically intact by sequence analysis. In contrast, a recent report in children treated early failed to detect sequence-intact proviruses. In another cohort of children treated early, we sought to detect and characterize proviral sequences after 6 to 9 years on suppressive ART. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from perinatally infected children from the Children with HIV Early antiRetroviral (CHER) study were analyzed. Nearly full-length proviral amplification and sequencing (NFL-PAS) were performed at one time point after 6 to 9 years on ART. Amplicons with large internal deletions were excluded (<9 kb). All amplicons of ≥9 kb were sequenced and analyzed through a bioinformatic pipeline to detect indels, frameshifts, or hypermutations that would render them defective. In eight children who started ART at a median age of 5.4 months (range, 2.0 to 11.1 months), 733 single NFL-PAS amplicons were generated. Of these, 534 (72.9%) had large internal deletions, 174 (23.7%) had hypermutations, 15 (1.4%) had small internal deletions, 3 (1.0%) had deletions in the packaging signal/major splice donor site, and 7 (1.0%) were sequence intact.