Molecular mechanisms of HIV type 1 prophylaxis failure revealed by single-genome sequencing.
Li H., Blair L., Chen Y., Learn G., Pfafferott K., John M., Bhattacharya T., Hahn BH., Mallal S., Shaw GM., Bar KJ.
Trials of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV) pre- and postexposure prophylaxis show promise. Here, we describe a novel strategy for deciphering mechanisms of prophylaxis failure that could improve therapeutic outcomes. A healthcare worker began antiretroviral prophylaxis immediately after a high-risk needlestick injury but nonetheless became viremic 11 weeks later. Single-genome sequencing of plasma viral RNA identified 15 drug susceptible transmitted/founder HIV genomes responsible for productive infection. Sequences emanating from these genomes exhibited extremely low diversity, suggesting virus sequestration as opposed to low-level replication as the cause of breakthrough infection. Identification of transmitted/founder viruses allows for genome-wide assessment of molecular mechanisms of prophylaxis failure.