It has been known for many years that a virus is capable of producing drug resistant mutations of itself and thus making treatment of the disease that much more complicated. HIV is no exception. It is possible for a drug resistant strain of HIV to develop in a person receiving treatment in a matter of weeks.
This is problematic for doctors at the present time. It has long been the practice of medical practitioners to monitor the progress, or lack thereof, of HIV patients undergoing treatment for a period of four to eight weeks. During this period it is very simple for the virus t mutate and to become resistant to the medications being used and also to become less susceptible to medications that use similar methodologies to keep the virus count under control. This has significantly increased the incidence of drug resistant strains of HIV. For more information on hiv insurance, go to http://www.hivquote.co.za
A study was recently done to determine if it is possible to test for drug resistance at an earlier stage and thus to change the medication earlier and prevent the development of the drug resistant strain. It was found that a single week of treatment could be sufficient time to establish whether a treatment will be effective or not though further research does need to be conducted to confirm this.
Data from previous clinical trails was gathered and analyzed. In these clinical trials the viral load of the test subjects was monitored on a daily basis. It was found that in over 95% of the cases, where a fifty fold drop in viral load was shown by the sixth day the patient responded well to treatment where if the drop in viral load was only 5 fold then the patient generally did not respond well to the treatment. Further factors for determining whether or not a treatment will be effective on a specific individual or not are still to be established.
The ability to detect het beginnings of drug resistance in the virus has a number of benefits. Not only will it be possible to determine whether a treatment is going to be effective or not earlier on in the treatment cycle and thus prevent the virus from mutating and becoming resistant to the medication being prescribed, but it will also enable doctors to expose patients to the toxicity of the various medications for a shorter period of time. It is anticipated that this will improve the success of HIV treatment in the long run.
It is as yet uncertain whether this kind of testing will be practical in real life scenarios however. The conclusions drawn in the study also have to be confirmed by further studies and tests. An optimal time period for determining whether a treatment regime is going to be effective or not also needs to be established. The outlook is hopeful however. If it becomes possible to prevent virus mutation and the development of drug resistant strains then we are one step closer to truly understanding the virus and finding a cure.