ICTM logo
Government endorses UK HIV Drug Resistance Database

16 November 2011

In a response to the report No vaccine, no cure: HIV and AIDS in the United Kingdom issued by the Select Committee on HIV and AIDS in the United Kingdom, the Government has endorsed the UK HIV Drug Resistance Database (UK HDRD).

The aim of the Select Committee report was to examine what is necessary to tackle the HIV epidemic in the UK, with a focus on prevention. In this context the work of the Database was praised:

"Viral resistance is currently monitored by the UK HIV Drug Resistance Database, funded by a grant from the Medical Research Council. This work is of increasing importance, and must continue to be supported.

"Continued monitoring of viral resistance to drug treatments, currently carried out through the UK HIV Drug Resistance Database, is essential."

The Government response states:

"The Government agrees that this novel and valuable data source should be continued."

The UK HDRD was established in 2001 to collect information on routinely performed HIV drug resistance tests in the UK. By the end of 2010, over 75,000 test results had been received and collated at the Clinical Trials Unit.

Monitoring of viral resistance is done separately for patients who have never taken treatment (drug-naïve) and for those who have (drug-experienced). Any resistance detected in a drug-naïve patient must have been present in the virus of the person who infected them. This is known as transmitted HIV drug resistance (TDR), an important phenomenon that limits the treatment options available to newly-infected people.

Resistance detected in drug-experienced patients is usually caused by the virus mutating to escape one or more drugs in the regimen that the patient is currently taking (acquired resistance). Data gathered from drug-experienced patients provide insights on how successful different drug regimens are in stopping the virus from replicating.