Analysis of numbers: Malaria vaccine a letdown for infants

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The story on the ineffectiveness of a new malaria vaccine was reported in USA Today on Friday.
The story uses numbers in a variety of ways. The first is how the vaccine is only 30 percent effective in infants. Next, the vaccine is half effective in slightly older children, USA Today said. Malaria kills 650,000 people a year. To prove the vaccine is only 30 percent effective, 6,500 infants were used in the study. Severe malaria was decreased by 26 percent in the study. The production and research of the vaccine has an investment of $300 million.
The numbers are spread throughout the story evenly, so the numbers all flow logically and make sense. The one critique is the use of 30 percent throughout the story. This is the main number in the article, but it is used an overwhelming amount of times. Readers understand the vaccine is only 30 percent effective, but it does not need to be said so many times.
It does not appear that any math was completed. The numbers were likely given and reported as facts in the story.
The sources of the numbers are the World Health Organization, "a new study," the New England Journal of Medicine, a press conference presenting the study, Glaxo (the developer of the vaccine), and a variety of groups of scientists and experts in the field.

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This page contains a single entry by dulli012 published on November 9, 2012 11:35 AM.

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