Drug resistance remains a global challenge in children and adolescents living with HIV (CALWH). Characterizing resistance evolution, specifically using next generation sequencing (NGS) can potentially inform care, but remains understudied, particularly in antiretroviral therapy (ART)-experienced CALWH in resource-limited settings. We conducted reverse-transcriptase NGS and investigated short-and long-term resistance evolution and its predicted impact in a well-characterized cohort of Kenyan CALWH failing 1st-line ART and followed for up to ~8 years. Drug resistance mutation (DRM) evolution types were determined by NGS frequency changes over time, defined as evolving (up-trending and crossing the 20% NGS threshold), reverting (down-trending and crossing the 20% threshold) or other. Exploratory analyses assessed potential impacts of minority resistance variants on evolution. Evolution was detected in 93% of 42 participants, including 91% of 22 with short-term follow-up, 100% of 7 with long-term follow-up without regimen change, and 95% of 19 with long-term follow-up with regimen change. Evolving DRMs were identified in 60% and minority resistance variants evolved in 17%, with exploratory analysis suggesting greater rate of evolution of minority resistance variants under drug selection pressure and higher predicted drug resistance scores in the presence of minority DRMs. Despite high-level pre-existing resistance, NGS-based longitudinal follow-up of this small but unique cohort of Kenyan CALWH demonstrated continued DRM evolution, at times including low-level DRMs detected only by NGS, with predicted impact on care. NGS can inform better understanding of DRM evolution and dynamics and possibly improve care. The clinical significance of these findings should be further evaluated.
- HIV-1 drug resistance
- children and adolescents
- evolution of drug resistance
- minority drug resistance variants
- types of drug resistance evolution