Study Completed on HIV-1 in the Former USSR Republics


During the 2nd quarter of 2011, ISTC project #3826, Genetic Polymorphism of HIV-1 in the Former USSR Republics, was successfully completed. The purpose of the project was to monitor and compare, for the first time, molecular-epidemiological diversity of HIV type 1 in Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. In parallel the prevalance of mutant drug resistant strains were analyzed. The results of the current project will be used by governments to choose the most appropriate drugs to purchase in national health programs. The project is of very essential in order to obtain better response to treatments and minimize waste on innapropriate medicine.

The epidemiological map drawn through this project shows a broad predominance of HIV-1 subtype A in all CIS countries studied. This result inspires careful hope as this subtype responds better to antiretroviral drugs. The current level of drug resistance and mutations were found to be very low. The results obtained during the project will form the basis of a new study on phylodynamics of HIV-infection epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The samples were analyzed using molecular epidemiological latest technologies.

During the last fifteen years, HIV-1 has been spreading rapidly in Russia. By November 30, 2010, the number of HIV-1 cases diagnosed had reached 575,071, out of which 90% were intravenous drug users or their hetero-sexual partners. The situation is similar in Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

Prevailing economic relations, the permanent migration of the population and the exchange of the labor forces create an intimate epidemic relationship between Russia and bordering countries which explains the existence of common HIV-1 variants with similar HIV-1 resistance mutations background. Therefore the results of the study are important to all countries part of this project.

The results of the work were described in 7 scientific papers, 11 poster presentations at 7 international conferences, 8 oral presentation at 7 international conferences and 21 oral presentations at 12 local conferences. 

The project lasted 36 months and had a total budget of $344,516. It has widespread clinical applications and obvious commercial value.