What is Dolutegravir (DTG)?

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Resistance to the antiretroviral drug dolutegravir (DTG) is increasing among HIV patients, a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO) highlighted.

About Dolutegravir (DTG)

  • It is an antiviral drug used with other medications to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, the virus that can cause the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
  • Dolutegravir is in a class of medications called HIV integrase inhibitors.
  • It works by decreasing the amount of HIV in your blood and increasing the number of immune cells that help fight infections in your body.
  • Although dolutegravir does not cure HIV, using it along with other medications may decrease your chance of developing AIDS and HIV-related illnesses such as serious infections or cancer.
  • Since 2018, WHO has recommended the use of dolutegravir as the preferred first- and second-line HIV treatment for all population groups. 
  • It is more effective, easier to take, and has fewer side effects than other drugs currently in use.
  • Common side effects of dolutegravir may include:
    • headache;
    • tiredness; or
    • sleep problems (insomnia).
    • Some side effects can be serious. These include severe skin rashes and allergic reactions, liver problems, and drug interactions.

What is HIV/AIDS?

  • AIDS is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by HIV.
  • HIV attacks the body’s immune system, making a person more vulnerable to other infections and diseases.
  • If HIV is not treated, it can lead to AIDS.
  • Transmission:
    • It is a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
    • It can also be spread by contact with infected blood, and from illicit injection drug use, or by sharing needles.
    • It can also be spread from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. 
  • Treatment:
    • There is currently no effective cure. Once people get HIV, they have it for life.
    • But with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. People with HIV who get effective HIV treatment (called antiretroviral therapy, or ART) can live long, healthy lives and protect their partners.

Q1) What is a Virus?

A virus is an infectious microbe consisting of a segment of nucleic acid (either DNA or RNA) surrounded by a protein coat. A virus cannot replicate alone; instead, it must infect cells and use components of the host cell to make copies of itself. Often, a virus ends up killing the host cell in the process, causing damage to the host organism. Well-known examples of viruses causing human disease include AIDS, COVID-19, measles and smallpox.

Source: WHO highlights growing HIV drug resistance to dolutegravir, urges global action