Farming and Agriculture

Indian Immunologicals Limited continues its venture in Fish Vaccine development and signs agreement with ICAR-CIFA

15 March 2023, New Delhi: Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL), a leading vaccine manufacturer, has announced partnership with Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture (CIFA), Bhubaneswar, an Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Institute for the commercial development of vaccine against Hemorrhagic Septicemia, also called Aeromonas Septicemia, Ulcer Disease or Red-Sore Disease in freshwater fish.

IIL ventured into aqua business in October 2022 by launching products for aquaculture health market dealing with pond management and fish or shrimp gut management and subsequently announced commercial development of fish vaccines with ICAR-CIFE. Aquaculture sectors play a vital role in India’s economy and fisheries sector is a means of livelihood for ~28 million people in the country. India is the 3rd largest fish producer in the global sphere and more than 65% of India’s fish is through Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture. The main constraint to aquaculture globally, however, is disease with an estimate that 20% of all cultured aquatic animals are lost because of infectious diseases, amounting to around 10 billion USD in losses annually on a global scale.

Hemorrhagic Septicemia in freshwater fishes is caused by Aeromonas hydrophila, an opportunistic pathogenic bacterium. This infection is the scourge of fresh and brackish water fish farming worldwide and is considered as a significant economic problem in Indian aquaculture over the past decades. All the cultured freshwater fish species in India like rohu, catla, mrigal, silver carp, grass carp, common carp, medium carps, channel catfish, eel, etc. are susceptible to this disease.

Over the years, antibiotics and chemotherapeutants are used for controlling bacterial diseases including A. hydrophila. Now bacterial pathogens have become resistant to these chemicals, when used over an extended period and some chemicals pose environmental health hazards. In this context, vaccination is the most promising and environmentally safe concept for controlling diseases.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr K Anand Kumar, Managing Director, Indian Immunologicals Limited said, “IIL is the first in India to get to 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 at multiple-fronts in defining pathways for commercial development of fish vaccines in India”.

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

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. Scientist from CIFA conducted years of research to develop vaccine candidate against Aeromonas Septicemia. I am glad that IIL have come forward for commercial development of this vaccine”.

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