Nov 17, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – A Department of Health and Human Services official said today that loss of potency is affecting less than 20% of H5N1 avian influenza vaccine doses in the national stockpile, not a majority of doses as reported here yesterday.Bill Hall, an HHS spokesman in Washington, DC, said the agency has acquired a total of about 7.5 million doses of H5N1 vaccine to date, and about 200,000 of those have been used for research.About 1.4 million doses have begun to lose potency, Hall said. “That leaves about 5.9 million doses that are mostly in bulk, with some in vials, that still have potency,” he said. “That would treat about 3 million people.”Hall gave the numbers in response to the report here yesterday in which he was quoted as saying that a majority of vaccine doses in the stockpile had begun to lose potency. He said his comments were mischaracterized.HHS has been stockpiling H5N1 vaccine in preparation for the threat of an influenza pandemic sparked by the avian flu virus. In a Nov 13 pandemic planning update, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said the agency had enough vaccine on hand for about 3 million people. A previous update in July said the stockpile contained enough vaccine for about 4 million people.Hall cited the loss of potency in some of the vaccine as the main reason for the decrease in the number of people who could be immunized.Most of the vaccine was made by Sanofi Pasteur, but HHS also has bought some from Chiron Corp., Hall said today.He reiterated today that all vaccines and other biologic products have a limited shelf life. “The expected shelf life of seasonal flu vaccine is probably about a year,” so the fact that most of the stockpile is still good after about 2 years “is probably a good thing,” he said.Hall added that HHS-sponsored research now under way, particularly on the use of adjuvants (immune-boosting substances), may help to stretch the vaccine supply.See also:Nov 13 HHS pandemic planning updatehttp://www.flu.gov/professional/pdf/panflureport3.pdf
Greensburg, IN—Trying to stay cool during this heatwave in Indiana? That probably means you’re using more energy at home – which can lead to a higher energy bill. Air conditioners use a lot of electricity, but there are a few things you can do to help avoid surprises on your monthly bill according to duke energy.Three tips for understanding your billThe first step to keeping your bill in check is understanding what’s on it. Here’s what to look for:Billing cycle lengthCheck the number of days in your billing cycle. Most bills cover 30 days, but sometimes it varies. Bills that cover more days can be higher.Average kWhLook at average kilowatt-hour (kWh) use per day. At first glance, your bill may look higher, but if your average use is similar to the same time last year, or similar to another month with extreme temps, it’s a normal bill.Online usage toolsIf you have a smart meter, check for a daily usage analysis tool online. Smart meters collect the info by the hour, so you can check for spikes in energy use to see what appliances and behaviors are increasing your bill.10 ways to avoid billing surprisesNow for the good stuff. Here are some things you can do to keep tabs on your energy use and lower your bill.Get usage alerts thru text messages.The best way to avoid billing surprises is to track your use. Duke Energy customers with a smart meter can sign up for Usage Alerts. Similar to data alerts you get from your cellphone company, you can set a budget amount for your monthly energy bill and receive notices when you are approaching your limit.Upgrade your bulbs.Replace standard bulbs with light-emitting diodes (LEDs). LEDs are more efficient than regular bulbs and emit less heat, while giving off the same amount of light.Check your HVAC.Have your heating and cooling system checked to maintain performance. Duke Energy offers qualified customers rebates to help offset the cost of replacing older units with energy-efficient ones. Use finditduke.com to find a certified contractor.Change your filters.Change air filters regularly. A dirty air filter makes an HVAC system work harder and use more energy.Adjust your thermostat.Set your thermostat as high as comfortable. The smaller the difference between the inside and outside temperatures, the lower your energy bill will be.Shut the blinds.Close blinds and curtains on sunny days.Put the whole-house fan to work.If you have a whole-house fan, use it to pull cool air into your home at night or in the early morning through open windows. Turn the fan off and shut the windows during the day.Use exhaust fans.Bathroom and kitchen fans remove heat and humidity from showering and cooking. (And take short showers instead of baths to save even more year-round.)Cool off with ceiling fans.A ceiling fan can cool you off enough that you’ll feel comfortable raising the thermostat a few degrees.Save washing for the evening.Run your dishwasher, washing machine and dryer at night when it’s cooler. Also, run full loads and consider air-drying dishes and clothes to save even more.
NOTTINGHAM, England (CMC) – If the West Indies can emulate their performance against Pakistan throughout the World Cup, legendary former captain Clive Lloyd expects them to beat some of the higher-ranked teams.In their opening match on Friday, Oshane Thomas and Andre Russell bowled with pace and accuracy to rout Pakistan for 105, their second lowest score in World Cup history.Chris Gayle then smashed a 33-ball fifty as the Windies eased to a seven-wicket victory with 218 balls to spare.Lloyd lauded the regional team for their performance, especially in light of the fact that Pakistan had proved troublesome in the past.“I think Pakistan have previously given us problems so it was a very admirable performance and I can only wish Jason Holder and the rest of the boys well for the rest of the tournament. I’m sure they will upset a few of the big boys if they play like that,” said Lloyd, the last West Indies captain to win the coveted World Cup.“This game has provef that we have some firepower and that means we can match anybody in this competition. We have to try and test out our batting now, that’s the real test going forward. We have to see how they do when they have to bat first and try and post a good total.“I want to see how we get on if we have to defend a total, but it’s shaping up really well at the moment and they couldn’t have asked for a better start to the tournament. Admittedly, Pakistan were not at their best but I think that was more to with the West Indies pressure as that was a good tactic,” he added.However, Lloyd said he expected a much sterner test when the Windies take on Australia in their next game on Thursday.He said it was now left to be seen if the regional side could perform under pressure.“We just need to see what happens when the pressure is on the West Indies, but the game against Australia should do that as that will be a good test of where we are at.“Australia have got some firepower and some very good batsmen, so that should be an excellent game. That will give you an idea if West Indies can qualify or not,” Lloyd pointed out.“It’s going to be a good test and I also want to see the game against England. That too is going to be quite the contest. England have some real firepower and variety too.”