Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL) announced a collaboration with the Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture (CIFA), Bhubaneswar, an Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Institute, for the commercial development of a vaccine against hemorrhagic septicemia in freshwater fish, also known as Aeromonas septicemia, ulcer disease, or red-sore disease.
IIL ventured into the aqua business in October 2022 by launching products for the aquaculture health market dealing with pond management and fish or shrimp gut management and subsequently announced the commercial development of fish vaccines with ICAR-CIFE. Aquaculture sectors play a vital role in India’s economy and the fisheries sector is a means of livelihood for ~28 million people in the country. India is the third largest fish producer in the global sphere and more than 65 per cent of India’s fish is through inland fisheries and aquaculture. The main constraint to aquaculture globally, however, is disease with an estimate that 20 per cent of all cultured aquatic animals are lost because of infectious diseases, amounting to around $10 billion in losses annually on a global scale.
Aeromonas hydrophila, an opportunistic pathogenic bacteria, causes hemorrhagic septicemia in freshwater fishes. This infection is a worldwide scourge of fresh and brackish water fish farming and has been a major economic issue in Indian aquaculture for decades. This illness affects all cultured freshwater fish species in India, including rohu, catla, mrigal, silver carp, grass carp, common carp, medium carp, channel catfish, eel, and others.
Antibiotics and chemotherapeutics have long been used to treat bacterial infections, including Aeromonas hydrophila. When these chemicals are used for an extended length of time, bacterial pathogens become resistant to them, and some chemicals represent environmental health risks. Vaccination is the most promising and environmentally safe method of disease control in this situation.
"IIL is the first in India to get to fish vaccines," said Dr. K Anand Kumar, Managing Director of Indian Immunologicals Limited, on the occasion. We understand the difficulties that come with being the first, having been in similar situations with many other livestock vaccines. We are defining pathways for commercial development of fish vaccines in India on multiple fronts."
"IIL is committed to developing vaccines for the fisheries sector with a long-term strategic goal of reducing antibiotic use and thus antimicrobial resistance in the environment, as part of the 'One Health' initiative," said Dr Priyabrata Pattnaik, Deputy Managing Director of Indian Immunologicals Limited.
Dr Pramoda Kumar Sahoo, Director of ICAR-CIFA said “Currently there is 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 commercial development of this vaccine.”