VS411 Reduced Immune Activation and HIV-1 RNA Levels in 28 Days: Randomized Proof-of-Concept Study for AntiViral-HyperActivation Limiting Therapeutics

Franco Lori, Davide de Forni, Elly Katabira, Denis Baev, Renato Maserati, Sandra A. Calarota, Pedro Cahn, Marco Testori, Aza Rakhmanova, Michael R. Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: A new class of antiretrovirals, AntiViral-HyperActivation Limiting Therapeutics (AV-HALTs), has been proposed as a disease-modifying therapy to both reduce Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) RNA levels and the excessive immune activation now recognized as the major driver of not only the continual loss of CD4+ T cells and progression to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), but also of the emergence of both AIDS-defining and non-AIDS events that negatively impact upon morbidity and mortality despite successful (ie, fully suppressive) therapy. VS411, the first-in-class AV-HALT, combined low-dose, slow-release didanosine with low-dose hydroxycarbamide to accomplish both objectives with a favorable toxicity profile during short-term administration. Five dose combinations were administered as VS411 to test the AV-HALT Proof-of-Concept in HIV-1-infected subjects. Methods: Multinational, double-blind, 28-day Phase 2a dose-ranging Proof-of-Concept study of antiviral activity, immunological parameters, safety, and genotypic resistance in 58 evaluable antiretroviral-naïve HIV-1-infected adults. Randomization and allocation to study arms were carried out by a central computer system. Results were analyzed by ANOVA, Kruskal-Wallis, ANCOVA, and two-tailed paired t tests. Results: VS411 was well-tolerated, produced significant reductions of HIV-1 RNA levels, increased CD4+ T cell counts, and led to significant, rapid, unprecedented reductions of immune activation markers after 28 days despite incomplete viral suppression and without inhibiting HIV-1-specific immune responses. The didanosine 200 mg/HC 900 mg once-daily formulation demonstrated the greatest antiviral efficacy (HIV-1 RNA: -1.47 log10 copies/mL; CD4+ T cell count: +135 cells/mm3) and fewest adverse events. Conclusions: VS411 successfully established the Proof-of-Concept that AV-HALTs can combine antiviral efficacy with rapid, potentially beneficial reductions in the excessive immune system activation associated with HIV-1 disease. Rapid reductions in markers of immune system hyperactivation and cellular proliferation were obtained despite the fact that VS411 did not attain maximal suppression of HIV RNA, suggesting this effect was due to the HALT component. Trial Registration: ITEudraCT 2007-002460-98.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere47485
JournalPLoS One
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 19 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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