A cure for ISA?


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
November 17, 2011

A research team in America may have come up with a potential treatment for infectious salmon anaemia virus (ISAV) more commonly known as fish flu. 

The team from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have identified a genetic structure which may be responsible for triggering replication in the virus. At present the only way of treating the virus is by vaccination which is both tricky and economically impractical. If a method of disabling the virus reproduction is found, it will mean an end to the disease which currently claims mortality rates of up to 90% in fish farms. 

Robert Brinson a NIST scientist together with his colleagues Andrea Szakal and John Marino identified a sequence of nucleotides known as a 'panhandle' structure in the ISAV RNA using high resolution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Previous studies have shown that similar structures in flu viruses interact with proteins involved in copying and replicating the viruses and it is thought that in the ISAV virus this panhandle motif may act as a green light for replication. 

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