Indian Immunologicals Limited partners with ICAR-CIFA to develop vaccine for Septicemia in freshwater fish

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Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL), one of India’s leading vaccine manufacturers, has joined forces with Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture (CIFA), Bhubaneswar, to develop a vaccine for Hemorrhagic Septicemia in freshwater fish, also known as Aeromonas Septicemia, Ulcer Disease, or Red-Sore Disease.

Aquaculture plays a crucial role in India’s economy, and the fisheries sector is a source of livelihood for nearly 28 million people in the country. India is the world’s third-largest fish producer, with over 65% of the country’s fish coming from inland fisheries and aquaculture. However, disease is a significant constraint to aquaculture globally, with an estimated 20% of all cultured aquatic animals lost to infectious diseases, resulting in around $10 billion USD in losses annually on a global scale.

Hemorrhagic Septicemia in freshwater fish is caused by Aeromonas hydrophila, an opportunistic pathogenic bacterium, and is considered a significant economic problem in Indian aquaculture. All the cultured freshwater fish species in India are susceptible to this disease, making it a pressing concern for the industry.

IIL ventured into the aqua business in October 2022, launching products for the aquaculture health market that dealt with pond management and fish or shrimp gut management. They subsequently announced the commercial development of fish vaccines with ICAR-CIFE.

Vaccination is the most promising and environmentally safe concept for controlling diseases as antibiotics and chemotherapeutants used for controlling bacterial diseases, including A. hydrophila, are becoming ineffective, with pathogens developing resistance to these chemicals. Furthermore, some chemicals pose environmental health hazards.

Dr K Anand Kumar, Managing Director, Indian Immunologicals Limited, commented on the occasion, saying, “IIL is the first in India to develop fish vaccines. We are aware of the challenges associated with being the first, having been in similar situations for many other livestock vaccines. We are working on multiple fronts in defining pathways for the commercial development of fish vaccines in India.”

Dr Priyabrata Pattnaik, Deputy Managing Director, Indian Immunologicals Limited, added that “IIL is committed to developing vaccines for the fisheries sector with a long-term strategic objective of reducing the use of antibiotics, thereby reducing antimicrobial resistance in the environment, as part of the “One Health” initiative.”

Dr Pramoda Kumar Sahoo, Director of ICAR-CIFA, said, “Currently, there are no fish vaccines available in India on a commercial scale to prevent aquaculture infections. Scientists from CIFA conducted years of research to develop a vaccine candidate against Aeromonas Septicemia. I am glad that IIL has come forward for the commercial development of this vaccine.”


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