The genetic diversity and genotypic drug susceptibility of HIV-1 strains circulating in the Republic of Georgia, formerly part of the Soviet Union, were investigated for first time. Forty-eight HIV-positive drug-naive Georgian individuals contributed PBMC DNA between 1998 and 2003. On the basis of phylogenetic analyses of partial pol sequences, the predominant HIV-1 genetic forms were subtype A (70%), followed by subtype B (26%); both genetic forms were carried by injecting drug users and heterosexuals. There was also one subtype C (2%) and one CRF18_cpx (2%). The Georgian subtype A strains clustered with subtype A from Russia, designated AFSU. Twelve of the subtype A strains (25%) contained the secondary protease inhibitor mutation V77I and 9 also had two other silent mutations. This "V77I haplotype" marks one particular genetic lineage of the epidemic in the former Soviet Union. Two strains (4%) carried antiretroviral (ARV) drug resistance mutations. Nearly full-length genome sequences of five Georgian strains were also completed. Two, 98GEMZ011 (subtype A) and 98GEMZ003 (subtype B), closely resembled the parental strains that recombined to create CRF03_AB. The use of these parental strains in the analysis revealed an additional segment of subtype A in CRF03_AB. Thus, the HIV-1 epidemic in Georgia was composed of a mixture of subtype AFSU and subtype B.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases