Scientists Develop Salmon Parasite Vaccine


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
April 24, 2008

Researchers at the University of Prince Edward Island's Atlantic Veterinary College in Charlottetown yesterday announced they have developed a vaccine that is effective against a destructive salmon parasite.

Lead researcher Dr. David J. Speare's team has worked on the vaccine, which works to prevent microsporidial gill disease in farmed salmon, for more than a decade. The disease, caused by the parasite Loma salmonae, typically results in death of pre-market size salmon; mortality rates reach 30 percent on some farms.

Their findings were recently published in Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, an experimental medical research journal.

"Although there are many diseases of fish, animals and humans caused by microsporidian parasites, there have been no successful treatment or prevention methods against these enigmatic disease-causing organisms until now," said Speare in a press release. "Now we can say that we actually have one. We have a vaccine."

"As infectious diseases continue to remain an impediment to the development, productivity and profitability of fish farms, vaccination plays an important role in large-scale commercial fish farming," explained Speare.

The Atlantic Veterinary College at UPEI is known as "the fish vet school" because of its expertise in aquatic species. In addition to being home to the Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences, the AVC conducts research on infectious salmon anemia, and various shellfish-health projects.

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