Alex Eben Meyer.

Alex Eben Meyer.

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In the US alone, more than one billion birds are estimated to be killed annually by collisions with buildings, especially those with extensive glass surfaces.  
Now, a comprehensive study linking bird-friendly glass technology to improved wildlife safety has been released by the American Bird Conservancy, in conjunction with the Law, Ethics, and Animals Program (LEAP) at Yale Law School. “We need birds,” the authors said—both for their intrinsic value and for their ecological benefits, including insect control, plant pollination, seed dispersal, and habitat regeneration.  

The study offers an extensive primer on design elements that can significantly reduce bird strikes. They include patterned glass, window screens, and reducing light pollution. (Lit-up buildings disorient birds migrating at night.) The authors also note that bird-friendly design can be integrated into green building policy incentives.

Yale researchers have developed an inhalable mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccine that protects against the COVID virus—and holds promise for other therapeutic uses.

Developing lung-targeted mRNA therapies has proved challenging. Typically, only a small fraction of the administered therapy entered the targeted cells, and the nanoparticles used to deliver the mRNA have caused inflammation and other problems. However, by creating a highly specialized nanoparticle to work specifically in lung cells, the team was able to overcome these hurdles and produce a vaccine that does not require intramuscular injection. In experiments with mice, two vaccine doses given intra-nasally produced a highly effective immune response.

Moreover, a minimally invasive, inhalable delivery system opens the possibility of administering not only vaccines, but other kinds of mRNA. Interventions such as gene replacement therapy might be able to treat diseases like cystic fibrosis.

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