Reports have emerged from an AIDS Research Centre in Barcelona of a newly identified variant of HIV that is showing resistance to current antiretroviral drugs.

The scientific journal The Lancet Microbe has disclosed last week that a 75-year-old patient is a man who was diagnosed in 1989 and the virus he carries is resistant to the five families of oral drugs currently used against HIV.

“Since starting antiretroviral treatment in 1995, the individual had received more than 14 different antiretroviral drugs over the course of his illness,” said the report in The Lancet Microbe.


“In November 2017, a blood sample was collected from the individual and we did drug resistance analysis tests. We found that this individual was infected with a pan-resistant HIV-1 subtype B strain that showed broad genotypic and phenotypic cross-resistance to all approved antiretroviral drugs, including the newest second-generation integrase inhibitors, dolutegravir and bictegravir.

“With no remaining clinical options available, except for investigational drugs, this case provides evidence that new antiretroviral drugs with different mechanisms of action are needed.”

This newly identified variant of the virus is insensitive to 25 of the 26 drugs tested, so only the infection has been partially controlled and the patient’s undetectability has not been achieved.

Investigations with techniques in cell cultures, helped doctors to know that samples of the virus are resistant to all drugs, with the exception of one.

In 2019, the World Health Organization alerted about 10 per cent of new HIV infections that occur with drug-resistant viruses.

Although this is an isolated case, experts believe that monitoring is necessary to identify and contain a possible super-resistant HIV pandemic.