Early intervention with 3BNC117 and romidepsin at antiretroviral treatment initiation in people with HIV-1: a phase 1b/2a, randomized trial

Nat Med. 2022 Nov;28(11):2424-2435. doi: 10.1038/s41591-022-02023-7. Epub 2022 Oct 17.


Attempts to reduce the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) reservoir and induce antiretroviral therapy (ART)-free virologic control have largely been unsuccessful. In this phase 1b/2a, open-label, randomized controlled trial using a four-group factorial design, we investigated whether early intervention in newly diagnosed people with HIV-1 with a monoclonal anti-HIV-1 antibody with a CD4-binding site, 3BNC117, followed by a histone deacetylase inhibitor, romidepsin, shortly after ART initiation altered the course of HIV-1 infection ( NCT03041012 ). The trial was undertaken in five hospitals in Denmark and two hospitals in the United Kingdom. The coprimary endpoints were analysis of initial virus decay kinetics and changes in the frequency of CD4+ T cells containing intact HIV-1 provirus from baseline to day 365. Secondary endpoints included changes in the frequency of infected CD4+ T cells and virus-specific CD8+ T cell immunity from baseline to day 365, pre-ART plasma HIV-1 3BNC117 sensitivity, safety and tolerability, and time to loss of virologic control during a 12-week analytical ART interruption that started at day 400. In 55 newly diagnosed people (5 females and 50 males) with HIV-1 who received random allocation treatment, we found that early 3BNC117 treatment with or without romidepsin enhanced plasma HIV-1 RNA decay rates compared to ART only. Furthermore, 3BNC117 treatment accelerated clearance of infected cells compared to ART only. All groups had significant reductions in the frequency of CD4+ T cells containing intact HIV-1 provirus. At day 365, early 3BNC117 + romidepsin was associated with enhanced HIV-1 Gag-specific CD8+ T cell immunity compared to ART only. The observed virological and immunological effects of 3BNC117 were most pronounced in individuals whose pre-ART plasma HIV-1 envelope sequences were antibody sensitive. The results were not disaggregated by sex. Adverse events were mild to moderate and similar between the groups. During a 12-week analytical ART interruption among 20 participants, 3BNC117-treated individuals harboring sensitive viruses were significantly more likely to maintain ART-free virologic control than other participants. We conclude that 3BNC117 at ART initiation enhanced elimination of plasma viruses and infected cells, enhanced HIV-1-specific CD8+ immunity and was associated with sustained ART-free virologic control among persons with 3BNC117-sensitive virus. These findings strongly support interventions administered at the time of ART initiation as a strategy to limit long-term HIV-1 persistence.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • Depsipeptides* / pharmacology
  • Depsipeptides* / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • HIV Infections*
  • HIV-1*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Proviruses
  • Viral Load


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents
  • Depsipeptides
  • romidepsin

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03041012