Read Original Story

Glaxo Reports Success With Bird Flu Vaccine

Rating

3 Star

Glaxo Reports Success With Bird Flu Vaccine

Our Review Summary

This story reports on an announcement that a drug company has had some success with a vaccine that protects against the virus H5N1, better known as the avian or bird flu. News reports about an impending bird flu pandemic have been disturbing and reports about the development of a vaccine is big news. However, this story is flawed in several ways.

Although the story mentions a clinical trial, it does not provide enough information about the design of this study or of other ongoing trials for the reader to understand the strength of the existing evidence.

The story only quotes representatives from the drug company. The story should have quoted other, independent researchers or clinicians who could have provided additional perspectives.

The story does mention that the shot would cost between 4 and 7 euros, but it should have commented on the greater societal costs of implementing such a vaccination program. The story does not engage in disease mongering. However, the story should have mentioned that the predictions of a global pandemic have not been realized.

Most importantly, although the story says that the vaccine achieved an 80% protection rate, this is not sufficient information on the benefits of the vaccine. This protection rate assumes that the strain the vaccine protects against is the same strain that would be seen in a pandemic flu outbreak. It is still not clear how well the vaccine would work in the “real world” given that viruses mutate easily.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Satisfactory

The story does mention that the shot would cost between 4 and 7 euros. The story should have commented on the greater societal costs of implementing such a vaccination program.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

Although the story says that the vaccine achieved an 80% protection rate, this is not sufficient information on the benefits of the vaccine. This protection rate assumes that the strain the vaccine protects against is the same strain that would be seen in a pandemic flu outbreak. It is still not clear how well the vaccine would work in the “real world” given that viruses mutate easily.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

The story does not mention any potentional harms of the vaccine.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Not Satisfactory

Although the story mentions a clinical trial, it does not provide enough information about the design of this study or of other ongoing trials for the reader to understand the strength of the existing evidence.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

The story does not engage in disease mongering. However, the story should have mentioned that the predictions of a global pandemic have not been realized.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Not Satisfactory

The story only quotes representatives from the drug company. The story should have quoted other, independent researchers or clinicians who could have provided additional perspectives.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

The story does not mention any alternatives.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

The story makes it clear that Glaxo expects to submit the vaccine for FDA approval in the future.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

The story clearly states that this is a new vaccine.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Not Applicable

Although there is no way to know if the story relied on a press release as the sole source of information, all of the content it contains is from the drug company.

Total Score: 4 of 9 Satisfactory

Comments

Please note, comments are no longer published through this website. All previously made comments are still archived and available for viewing through select posts.