Fitness of drug resistant HIV-1: methodology and clinical implications.
Recent studies of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) fitness have examined the potential relationship with plasma viral load, drug resistance, and disease progression. For example, treatment of HIV-1 infected individuals with antiretroviral drugs may result in the selection and emergence of inhibitor-resistant variants with reduced replicative capacity. However, it is still unclear whether in vitro HIV-1 fitness has any direct relationship to in vivo disease progression or treatment success. A related question is which in vitro assay of viral fitness is the most appropriate for comparison with in vivo HIV-1 fitness. Characterization of the relative viral fitness of drug-resistant HIV-1 strains may lead to a better understanding of whether or not less fit viruses pose a clinical benefit to the patient.