Characterizing HIV-1 Genetic Subtypes and Drug Resistance Mutations among Children, Adolescents and Pregnant Women in Sierra Leone

George A Yendewa, Sulaiman Lakoh, Sahr A Yendewa, Khadijah Bangura, Andrés Tabernilla, Lucia Patiño, Darlinda F Jiba, Alren O Vandy, Samuel P Massaquoi, Nuno S Osório, Gibrilla F Deen, Foday Sahr, Robert A Salata, Eva Poveda

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) drug resistance (HIVDR) is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa. Children and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable, and laboratory testing capacity remains limited. We, therefore, used a cross-sectional design and convenience sampling to characterize HIV subtypes and resistance-associated mutations (RAMs) in these groups in Sierra Leone. In total, 96 children (age 2-9 years, 100% ART-experienced), 47 adolescents (age 10-18 years, 100% ART-experienced), and 54 pregnant women (>18 years, 72% ART-experienced) were enrolled. Median treatment durations were 36, 84, and 3 months, respectively, while the sequencing success rates were 45%, 70%, and 59%, respectively, among children, adolescents, and pregnant women. Overall, the predominant HIV-1 subtype was CRF02_AG (87.9%, 95/108), with minority variants constituting 12%. Among children and adolescents, the most common RAMs were M184V (76.6%, n = 49/64), K103N (45.3%, n = 29/64), Y181C/V/I (28.1%, n = 18/64), T215F/Y (25.0%, n = 16/64), and V108I (18.8%, n = 12/64). Among pregnant women, the most frequent RAMs were K103N (20.6%, n = 7/34), M184V (11.8%, n = 4/34), Y181C/V/I (5.9%, n = 2/34), P225H (8.8%, n = 3/34), and K219N/E/Q/R (5.9%, n = 2/34). Protease and integrase inhibitor-RAMs were relatively few or absent. Based on the genotype susceptibility score distributions, 73%, 88%, and 14% of children, adolescents, and pregnant women, respectively, were not susceptible to all three drug components of the WHO preferred first-line regimens per 2018 guidelines. These findings suggest that routine HIVDR surveillance and access to better ART choices may improve treatment outcomes in Sierra Leone.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1314
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by the Roe Green Travel Medicine and Global Health Award 2019 (Award Number J0628), University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center (G.A.Y.), Instituto de Salud Carlos III and Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional-FEDER, Red Española de Investigación en SIDA (RD16/0025/0026) (E.P.), Xunta Galicia-Fondo Social Europeo (IN606A-2016/023) (E.P.) and Fundación Biomédica Galicia Sur (E.P.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • HIV-1


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