An Improved Assay for Quantification of HIV Infectivity and Drug Resistance

Specific and Impactful Treatment Plans

At a Glance

Researchers at Colorado State University have developed an assay for quantification of HIV infectivity and drug resistance that with increased sensitivity relative to gold standard tests. The improved sensitivity allows for single cell resolution, rather than population based signals as a proxy of infectivity. This assay can then quantify the number of infected cells in a mixture, leading to much higher resolution of data and more accurate diagnosis of HIV infectivity and drug resistance.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infects nearly 1.5 million annually, and may develop into Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) when left untreated. AIDS is responsible for over 36 million deaths, but deaths due to AIDS have been decreased due to HIV replication being controlled through the use of antiretroviral drugs like protease inhibitors (PIs). Current treatment plans can prevent the development of AIDS by preventing HIV viruses from maturing and being able to infect new target cells.

However, many patients do not respond to PI treatment as the infecting virus has mutated to be resistant to a given drug. Assays are used to identify drug resistance and quantify HIV infectivity in a given individual, and are a crucial tool to the disruption of HIV proliferation in the body and prevention of AIDS.


Researchers at CSU have engineered novel viral vectors that are able to achieve single cell resolution. This shows marked improvement in sensitivity over current gold standard assays like PHENOSENSE® and Antivirogram. These assays are less sensitive, only grossly quantitative and show poor agreement between the assays when analyzing low resistance mutations. The assay described herein would thus be able to detect small mutations in HIV cells and create a better treatment plan for patients that display PI drug resistant HIV, and better manage HIV proliferation.


  • Enhanced sensitivity of HIV testing assays
  • Increased resolution of test allows for targeted treatment and management plans
  • Quantification of HIV infectivity and drug resistant cell types, rather than population based inference
  • Demonstrated HIV-1 infectivity suppression by HIV-1 protease inhibitors in a concentration-dependent manner


  • Assay testing of HIV infection
  • Drug resistance identification
  • Informed treatment plan and dosage of HIV treatment
Last Updated: June 2022
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Available for Licensing
TRL: 4

IP Status

US Provisional Patent


Chaoping Chen

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Steve Foster