Pharmacogenomics, the application of genotyping to patient therapy, holds great promise for solving a long-standing problem: differences in individual responses to drug treatments. The ultimate goal is to maximize drug efficacy while minimizing side effects. The time when a report with each person's genetic code will guide doctors in personalized medicine is still far away, but pharmacogenomics already is allowing physicians to make treatment decisions regarding human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1).

John Mellors
Mutations in HIV accumulate and interact with each other and cause resistance to one drug and then others, one of the pivotal problems in treatment. In the past, the complexity of HIV drug-resistance testing and the limited information on its clinical utility made routine application impractical. Recent advances in automated assay technology have allowed rapid characterization of HIV in blood samples, so an increasing number of commercial laboratories now offer phenotypic and genotypic testing. In fact,...

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