Fish Vaccinology
IAAAM Archive
Hugh Mitchell
NOVARTIS Animal Health, Aqua Business
Kirkland, WA, USA


In contrast to humans and mammals, the vaccination of fish is a relatively recent event. A brief history of human and animal vaccination will be given, leading up to when fish immunology made its first appearance and leading to the first experiments with fish immunoprophylaxis. Comparisons will be made between fish and mammalian immune systems and their relevance to vaccines. The vaccination of salmonids will be outlined, as this is the major impetus for the current status of fish vaccinology. Specific fish vaccines will be reviewed, including a recently licensed Infectious Hematopoetic Necrosis Virus plasmid nucleic acid vaccine, one of the most advanced vaccine technologies in the world for any species. The status of oral, immersion and injectable formulations will be reviewed. The technology of injection vaccination will be summarized, with manual and automation methods compared and contrasted. Risk factors of both the vaccine and application method to vaccine efficacy and side-effect issues will be discussed. The pathology scenarios behind injection side effects will be presented.

The history and prospects for vaccination in ornamental fish will be discussed, including Ulcer/"New Hole" and KHV vaccines for koi.

The research and development of commercial fish vaccines will be outlined. The bottlenecks to greater vaccine R&D and adoption in fish will be presented with speculation as to where fish vaccinology will be in the future.

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Hugh Mitchell