Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL), a leading vaccine manufacturer, has signed an agreement with Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture (CIFA), Bhubaneswar, an Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Institute, to develop a vaccine against Hemorrhagic Septicemia, also known as Aeromonas Septicemia, Ulcer Disease, or Red-Sore Disease, in freshwater fish on a commercial scale.
Aquaculture sectors play a significant role in India’s economy, and fisheries sector provides a livelihood for approximately 28 million people in the country. India is the third-largest fish producer globally, with more than 65% of the country’s fish coming from Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture. However, infectious diseases are a severe constraint to aquaculture, causing a loss of approximately 20% of all cultured aquatic animals and resulting in around $10 billion USD in losses every year globally.
Hemorrhagic Septicemia is caused by Aeromonas hydrophila, an opportunistic pathogenic bacterium and is considered a significant economic problem in Indian aquaculture over the past decades. All freshwater fish species cultured in India, including rohu, catla, mrigal, silver carp, grass carp, common carp, medium carps, channel catfish, and eel, are susceptible to this disease. In the past, antibiotics and chemotherapeutants were used to control bacterial diseases, including A. hydrophila. However, bacterial pathogens have become resistant to these chemicals, and some chemicals pose environmental health hazards. In this context, vaccination is the most promising and environmentally safe concept for controlling diseases.
IIL ventured into aqua business in October 2022 by launching products for the aquaculture health market dealing with pond management and fish or shrimp gut management. The company subsequently announced its partnership with ICAR-CIFE for the commercial development of fish vaccines. Speaking on the occasion, Dr K Anand Kumar, Managing Director of Indian Immunologicals Limited, said, “IIL is the first in India to get into 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 of Indian Immunologicals Limited, added, “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