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Category: Resources

From Bench to Clinic: A Researchers Guide to Move Candidate Vaccines into Trials


From Bench to Clinic is a webtool to help researchers most efficiently move their candidate vaccines into first-in-human trials.  With a focus on the practical steps that need to be accomplished before a clinical trial can be initiated, this tool is intended to acquaint researchers, funders and advocates, with the processes, costs and timelines involved in the first phase of product development.

From Bench to Clinic is part of the Enterprise’s Timely Topics in HIV Vaccines initiative, a new strategy series to identify and respond to unresolved and emerging priority issues in the field. I proposed the topic and worked closely with Eddy Sayeed of IAVI and Yegor Voronin from The Enterprise with supports from many others to make it a reality.

The tool was presented during a satellite symposium at the 2014 AIDS Vaccine Conference in Barcelona and draw the attention of researcher and of the industry.


Bench To Clinic

Health Activism – The case of HIV in the 21st century

This rich picture was created as a heuristic device for a seminar given to 2nd year medical students. The purpose was to sensitise future medical practitioners  to health issues seen from the perspective of the public and more specifically from those engaged in health activism.

The seminar focussed on the case of HIV activists though Health Activism is much broader. Finding a definition of health activism was not easy but I eventually found this very good one:


  • Health Activists are leaders who work daily to improve the way people talk and think about health.
  • Health Activists are passionate about raising awareness for health causes, dedicated to finding the best information about health conditions, and relentless in their commitment to help others.
  • They are also adept at using every tool possible to reach their communities, especially through social media.




African Migrant MSM

MSM Migrants Rich PictureThis picture was drawn as part of a project to explore the provision of HIV prevention services to African Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) migrants to the UK. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) estimates that 86,500 people are living with HIV in the UK in 2010. The disease disproportionately affects MSM who represents nearly half of those newly infected with a consistently higher proportion of black MSM. African migrants and MSM are an underserved group in terms of HIV prevention services.

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Migrants and Sex Work

This picture illustrates some aspects of a holistic approach to appreciate the situation of some migrants who enter the sex industry. It starts with people in search of better life opportunities than that available in their country. Immigration to more developed countries with a more appealing life style (advertised through globalisation and new communication technologies) represents an attractive option.

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The road to HIV infection

Being infected with HIV is not just a question of having unsafe sex with someone who is HIV+. Such reductionist approach ignores the complex set of factors, circumstances and events that lead to unsafe sex to take place. This concept map tries to survey these factors starting from the remote to the more intimate. As always, this is a work in progress and comments and suggestions are welcome.

ARV for HIV prevention, an overview

Despite the interesting results of an HIV vaccine trial in Thailand (RV144), HIV prevention is still limited to a small number of options many of which are not bullet-proof. Biomedical interventions based on vaccines and microbicides are still a long shot away. Conversely, treatment is working well in bringing HIV-infected people back to a normal life and potentially reducing the risk of HIV transmission by reducing their viral load. The use of antiretroviral drugs as a means to prevent HIV infection is controversial and a lot of background work will be required before embarking on massive “Test and Treat” campaigns.

Microbicides for HIV Prevention

Microbicides for HIV preventionMicrobicides are compounds that can be applied inside the vagina or rectum to protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV. They can be formulated as gels, creams, films, or suppositories. Microbicides may or may not have spermicidal activity (contraceptive effect). At present, an effective microbicide is not available (WHO definition)

PrEP, An Overview

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an experimental HIV-prevention strategy that proposes using antiretrovirals (ARVs) to reduce the risk of HIV infection in healthy uninfected people at risk of acquiring the virus. PrEP is not proven to work and is currently being tested in HIV-negative people in several clinical trials across the world. It is a controversial strategy that raises many hopes but also many questions (Updated May 1, 2010).

For further information check the PrEPWatch Website.

Barriers to condom use

Barriers to condom useTo use or not to use a condom for sexual intercourse is the result of a combination of several interacting factors. From the rational decision to choose not to use condoms to that of not being able to choose to use them, there is a broad range of possible accounts.

Addressing poor condom use therefore is not a question of simply promoting them but a question of knowing and understanding these numerous factors, their interactions and additive effects and ultimately understanding what leads people to do what they do or can do in their individual situation with their own perspectives, understanding, resources and options.

Biological Factors Affecting HIV Infection

Conditions Affecting HIV Transmission v2Several factors are important in determining if the HIV virus can be passed from an infected person to another one. These include biological and social factors which both relate to the exposed and the “infector” individuals.

This conceptual framework summarises only the biological factors that influence HIV transmission. When assessing the risk of infection, each should be considered in turn and as a whole.

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