Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Typically, metaanalyses show relative effects and heterogeneity, but not absolute effects-an essential element in policy decision. Data obtained through a systematic review of antimalarial treatment trials and virtual trials were used to generate a display that shows and quantifies absolute and relative effects as well as heterogeneity for comparative trials results. A plot of failure rates (with 95% confidence intervals) of the test drug on the y axis against the risk difference (RD) versus the comparator drug on the x axis is proposed; the area is divided into 4 quadrants by a vertical line (no RD) and a horizontal line (maximum tolerated failures, e.g., 10% for antimalarials). This allows identifying where a drug can be used (meeting efficacy requirements) and quantifying differences (versus another treatment option). The area of the polygon connecting the study points expresses heterogeneity. This graphic display is simple to prepare and interpret and combines in 1 graph both measures of absolute treatment effect and difference, as well as heterogeneity. It may complement current methods and provide useful information in policy decision making.

Original publication




Journal article


Diagnostic microbiology and infectious disease

Publication Date





422 - 431


UNICEF/UNDP/WB/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), Geneva, Switzerland.


Humans, Malaria, Falciparum, Artemisinins, Amodiaquine, Antimalarials, Treatment Outcome, Drug Therapy, Combination, Models, Biological, Research, Health Policy, Computer Graphics, Software, Policy Making, Meta-Analysis as Topic, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic