Title: Public Database for HIV Drug Resistance in southern Africa
Authors: de Oliveira T, Shafer WR, Seebregts C, for SATuRN.
Journal: Nature,464(7289):673 (2010)


The Opinion article by S. Karim and Q. Karim laments the lack of an effective conduit between South Africa's AIDS research and its prevention and treatment policies and programmes (Nature 463, 733?734; 2010). We would like to draw attention to an HIV-1 drug-resistance database, a scientific resource for regional and global HIV research that will enhance surveillance programmes in southern Africa.

The database was established by investigators from the Southern African Treatment and Resistance Network (SATuRN), in collaboration with researchers from the United States and Europe. SATuRN will provide national departments of health with highquality, up-to-date information to guide delivery of antiretroviral therapy, helping to ensure the long-term success of antiretroviral treatment programmes. As part of this network, we have installed a South African mirror of the Stanford HIV Drug Resistance Database (HIVDB). This mirror (www.bioafrica.net/saturn) will be continuously updated and released to local investigators in a curated and readily analysable form, in the context of more than 120,000 sequences already in the Stanford HIVDB. Neighbouring countries that share subtype C as the predominant virus (the strain fuelling southern Africa'sAIDS epidemic) are also providing data.

The mirror will ensure that subtype-C sequences are analysed according to standard state-of-the-art technologies developed by Stanford HIVDB. It will help patient management, allowing quick identification of resistant strains and systematic tracking both of resistance patterns and of prevalence and distribution of resistance mutations within different population groups. It will inform decisions about new drugs, diagnostics and treatment strategies in southern Africa.

Already, the data show that resistance in newly infected individuals is still very low (under 5%), as is the accumulation of thymidine-analogue mutations that can limit the effectiveness of second-line antiretroviral therapy. Investigators, clinicians and laboratories wishing to take part in the collaboration should contact the authors.

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Citation: de Oliveira T, Shafer WR, Seebregts C, for SATuRN. Public Database for HIV Drug Resistance in southern Africa Nature,464(7289):673 (2010).