Machine learning aided multiscale modelling of the HIV-1 infection in the presence of NRTI therapy

Tunc H., Sarı M., Kotil S.

PeerJ, vol.11, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.7717/peerj.15033
  • Journal Name: PeerJ
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: AIDS, HIV infection, Machine learning, Mathematical models, NRTI therapy
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is one of the most common chronic infectious diseases in humans. Extending the expected lifetime of patients depends on the use of optimal antiretroviral therapies. Emergence of the drug-resistant strains can reduce the effectiveness of treatments and lead to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), even with antiretroviral therapy. Investigating the genotype-phenotype relationship is a crucial process for optimizing the therapy protocols of the patients. Here, a mathematical modelling framework is proposed to address the impact of existing mutations, timing of initiation, and adherence levels of nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) on the evolutionary dynamics of the virus strains. For the first time, the existing Stanford HIV drug resistance data have been combined with a multi-strain within-host ordinary differential equation (ODE) model to track the dynamics of the most common NRTI-resistant strains. Overall, the D4T-3TC, D4T-AZT and TDFD4T drug combinations have been shown to provide higher success rates in preventing treatment failure and further drug resistance. The results are in line with the genotype-phenotype data and pharmacokinetic parameters of the NRTI inhibitors. Moreover, we show that the undetectable mutant strains at the diagnosis have a significant effect on the success/failure rates of the NRTI treatments. Predictions on undetectable strains through our multi-strain within-host model yielded the possible role of viral evolution on the treatment outcomes. It has been recognized that the improvement of multi-scale models can contribute to the understanding of the evolutionary dynamics, and treatment options, and potentially increase the reliability of genotype-phenotype models.