Background: In the Post Exposure Prophylaxis of Infants (PEPI)-Malawi trial, infants received up to 14 weeks of extended nevirapine (NVP) or extended NVP with zidovudine (NVP + ZDV) to prevent postnatal HIV transmission. We examined emergence and persistence of NVP resistance in HIV-infected infants who received these regimens prior to HIV diagnosis.
Methods: Infant plasma samples collected at 14 weeks of age were tested using the ViroSeq HIV Genotyping System and a sensitive point mutation assay, LigAmp (for K103N and Y181C). Samples collected at 6 and 12 months of age were analyzed using LigAmp.
Results: At 14 weeks of age, NVP resistance was detected in samples from 82 (75.9%) of 108 HIV-infected infants. Although the frequency of NVP resistance detected by ViroSeq was lower in the extended NVP + ZDV arm than in the extended NVP arm, the difference was not statistically significant (38/55 = 69.1% vs. 44/53 = 83.0%, P = 0.12). Similar results were obtained using LigAmp. Using LigAmp, the proportion of infants who still had detectable NVP resistance at 6 and 12 months was similar among infants in the two study arms (at 6 months: 17/20 = 85.0% for extended NVP vs. 21/26 = 80.8% for extended NVP + ZDV, P = 1.00; at 12 months: 9/16 = 56.3% for extended NVP vs.10/13 = 76.9% for extended NVP + ZDV, P = 0.43).
Conclusion: Infants exposed to extended NVP or extended NVP + ZDV had high rates of NVP resistance at 14 weeks of age, and resistant variants frequently persisted for 6-12 months. Frequency and persistence of NVP resistance did not differ significantly among infants who received extended NVP only vs. extended NVP + ZDV prophylaxis.