Clinic-based SAMBA-II vs centralized laboratory viral load assays among HIV-1 infected children, adolescents and young adults in rural Zimbabwe: A randomized controlled trial

PLoS One. 2023 Feb 14;18(2):e0281279. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0281279. eCollection 2023.


BACKGROUND: In Zimbabwe, children, adolescents and young adults living with HIV (CALWH) who are on public health antiretroviral therapy (ART) have inadequate viral load (VL) suppression. We assessed whether a clinic-based VL monitoring could decrease 12-month virologic failure rates among these CALWH.

METHODS: The study was registered on NCT03986099. CALWH in care at Chidamoyo Christian Hospital (CCH) and 8 rural outreach sites (ROS) on long-term community-based ART were randomized (1:1) to 6 monthly VL monitoring by COBAS®Ampliprep®/Taqman48® HIV-1 at the provincial referral laboratory (PRL) as per standard of care (SOC) or by the clinic-based SAMBA II assay, Diagnostics for the Real World, at CCH. VL suppression, turn-around-time (TAT) for VL results, drug switching and drug resistance in second-line failure were assessed at 12 months.

RESULTS: Of 390 CALWH enrolled 347 (89%) completed 12 months follow-up. Median (IQR) age and ART duration were 14.1 (9.7-18.2) and 6.4 (3.7-7.9) years, respectively. Over half (57%) of the participants were female. At enrolment, 78 (20%) had VL ≥1,000 copies/ml and VL suppression of 80% was unchanged after 12 months, with no significant difference between the SOC (81%) and the clinic-based (80%) arms (p = 0.528). Median (IQR) months to confirmatory VL result at CCH vs PRL was 4.0 (2.1-4.4) vs 4.5 (3.5-6.3) respectively; p = 0.027 at 12 months. Drug switching was documented among 26/347 (7%) participants with no difference between the median (IQR) time to switch in SOC vs clinic-based arms (5.1 (3.9-10.0) months vs 4.4 (2.5-8.4) respectively; p = 0.569). Out of 24 confirmed second-line failures, only 4/19 (21%) had protease inhibitor resistance.

CONCLUSION: In rural Zimbabwe, the clinic-based SAMBA II assay was able to provide confirmatory VL results faster than the SOC VL assay at the PRL. However, this rapid TAT did not allow for a more efficient drug switch among these CALWH.

PMID:36787296 | PMC:PMC9928130 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0281279


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