Aug 22, 2004
How does phenotypic testing work? And is this kind of testing more recommended when you have multiple mutations and have been on lots of regimens?
| Response from Dr. Conway
In general terms, phenotypic testing takes your virus (or a portion of it) and adds it to cells that can be infected with HIV. This is done in the presence or absence of antiviral drugs, which allows us to measure how well the drugs can prevent your virus from growing. The effect on your virus is compared to the effect on a virus known to be sensitive to all drugs, and the amount of resistance of your virus to individual drugs is then calculated, based on established standards.
You are very right to say that the best use of this test may be to study viruses that have multiple mutations, where the pattern of resistance cannot be easily predicted from the complicated genotype (with multiple mutations) that have developed.
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