Kaelo K. Seatla, SANTHE PhD trainee based at the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP) in Gaborone, was recently invited by The Botswana HIV Clinicians Society to present his research at the 7th Biennial Botswana International HIV Conference on the 22nd to 25th of August. His presentation, focussing on issues of resistance to antiretroviral treatment (ART) including that of dolutegravir (DTG) and others, was included in a plenary session titled, “Chronic HIV Management”.
“It was an honour to be included in this meeting,” said Seatla. “Botswana was the first country to introduce DTG as an anchor drug in its free national ART programme in June 2016 and most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are about to follow suit. We have unravelled interesting 'real-life' integrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTIs) drug resistance mutational characteristics and dynamics which might change the common thinking that INSTIs are the key to attaining a ‘functional cure’ to HIV-1.”
“We have also developed and validated an INSTI drug resistance assay that’s optimised for use in HIV-1 clade C infected patients and costs about a quarter of the commercial resistance testing assays. Our findings fit the conference theme, ‘Time to end it,” perfectly, and will be a valuable contribution to the 'last mile', or in our groups’ case, the last ‘90’,” he said.