Alternative Sample Types for HIV-1 Antiretroviral Drug Resistance Testing
Monitoring human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) drug resistance is critical for assessing ART effectiveness and treatment outcomes for HIV-1-infected individuals, including children, worldwide. Traditionally, testing for HIV-1 drug resistance has primarily been performed on plasma samples, and with commercially available, clinically validated assays that are costly and difficult to access. While plasma is the preferred sample for HIV-1 drug resistance genotyping, plasma analysis requires sophisticated laboratory equipment, personnel, space, and stringent storage conditions for maintenance of sample integrity and transport. With the limitations in feasibility and affordability of providing these ideal conditions for plasma genotyping in resource-constrained settings, the field has gained substantial experience with the dried blood spot (DBS) technique as an alternative. Moreover, DBS analysis can be used to comprehensively monitor the spread of the epidemic with applications to more-sensitive and quantitative technologies to assess HIV-1 globally.