Closing workshop for the IVVN-funded pump-priming project on immersion and oral vaccines for Aeromonas in fish

13 Oct 2021

Report on the closing workshop for the IVVN-funded pump-priming project ‘Efficacy testing of novel immersion and oral vaccines for Aeromonas hydrophila in tilapia and Vietnamese catfish’

On 27 September 2021, 68 IVVN members from 28 different countries joined a virtual workshop to hear about the main outcomes from an IVVN-funded pump-priming project on vaccine development for pangasius and tilapia. Dr Ngô Huỳnh Phương Thảo (Biotechnology Center of Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam) and Dr Andrew Desbois (University of Stirling, UK) co-chaired the half-day virtual workshop, which was organised to close the project. The aim of the workshop was to share the project findings with the IVVN community, unlock future collaborations and expedite commercialisation.

The project sought to develop oral and immersion vaccines for diseases caused by Aeromonad pathogens that impact tilapia and catfish farms, including in the major producing countries of Egypt and Vietnam. Vaccines are an excellent way to reduce disease outbreaks and the need for antibiotic therapy, which therefore can help in the fight against bacterial antimicrobial resistance. Moreover, vaccines delivered in feed or by bathing the fish negate the need for highly trained personnel and specialist equipment, which are required for injectable versions.

At the start of the workshop, Prof Dang Thi Hoang Oanh (Cantho University, Vietnam) and Prof Alaa Eldin Eissa (Cairo University, Egypt) detailed the scale of aquaculture and Aeromonas issues affecting pangasius culture in Vietnam and tilapia farms in Egypt. Dr Michaël Bekaert (University of Stirling) described the power of bioinformatics approaches for tackling bacterial pathogens in aquaculture, before Dr Andrew Desbois provided an overview of the project aim, objectives and team.

Dr Kerry Bartie (University of Stirling) outlined the approach taken to genotype the >500 isolates collected in the project to identify the strains responsible for most of the Aeromonas outbreaks included in the study. In addition to preparing vaccines with inactivated whole bacterial cells, Prof Dirk Werling (Royal Veterinary College, London) described the yeast expression platform used to create an innovative recombinant vaccine.

During the final presentations of the morning, Dr Ngô Huỳnh Phương Thảo presented the results from the vaccination trials performed in pangasius, where the novel immersion and oral vaccine conferred protection of up to 100% relative percent survival compared to controls, whilst Dr Andy Shinn (INVE, Thailand) shared the very promising data obtained in their study on tilapia. The workshop concluded with a Q&A session that allowed participants to quiz the project team, which comprised researchers from Vietnam, Thailand, Egypt and the UK.

The pump-priming project “Efficacy testing of novel immersion and oral vaccines for Aeromonas hydrophila in tilapia and Vietnamese catfish" commenced in 2018 and was funded by the IVVN.

For more information on the workshop and project, please contact Dr Ngô Huỳnh Phương Thảo (nhpthao [dot] snn [at] tphcm [dot] gov [dot] vn) and Dr Andrew Desbois (andrew [dot] desbois [at] stir [dot] ac [dot] uk)