HIV patients at risk of a potentially fatal hypersensitive reaction to the antiretroviral drug abacavir could be identified by genetic testing before drug therapy has started, suggest authors of a fast-track study in this week’s issue of THE LANCET.
The use of the HIV antiretroviral drug abacavir, a potent HIV-1 nucleoside-analogue reverse-transcriptase inhibitor, is complicated by a potentially life-threatening hypersensitivity syndrome in about 5% of cases. Genetic factors influencing the immune response to abacavir might result in some individuals being more susceptible to a hypersensitive reaction than other patients.
Simon Mallal and colleagues from the Royal Perth Hospital, Australia, studied 200 HIV patients treated with abacavir. They focused on analysis of the MHC genes that are known to be associated with the immune response.
Richard Lane | alphagalileo
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