Who is Helen Branswell?

by Rick Ackerman

Now get this: On Monday, with the Dow Industrials up nearly a thousand points on news that a Boston-based company, Moderna, has a promising vaccine, I warned that U.S. equity markets were about to start trading like a drug stock in trials. Lo, on day two, we’ve already got our first inkling of how incredibly damaging even mildly disappointing news can be when Wall Street is stoked on vaccine hubris. Moderna fell hard on a garden-variety hit-job, taking the entire stock market with it, after a web site called statnews.com expressed skepticism over the quality of the company’s PR releases. “While Moderna blitzed the media,” noted Newstat’s Helen Branswell, “it revealed very little information — and most of what it did disclose were words, not data. That’s important: If you ask scientists to read a journal article, they will scour data tables, not corporate statements. With science, numbers speak much louder than words.”

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