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ACS News Service Weekly PressPac: Wed Sep 15 16:42:03 EDT 2010

Progress on vaccine for Ich bane of fish farms and home aquarium hobbyists

Tests of a potential vaccine against “Ich” — the dreaded “white-spot” disease that plagues fish in commercial fish farms, public aquariums, pet fish retail outlets, and home aquariums — are raising hopes for finally controlling the disease, scientists reported at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.

“Outbreaks of the parasitic disease caused by Ichthyophthirius (Ich) can result in losses of 50-100 percent of fish,” Dehai Xu, Ph.D., said. “The disease is very common, and almost every home fish hobbyist has encountered it. Once the parasite infects fish, and starts growing in the skin, fins, and gills, there is no really effective treatment. Ich causes losses estimated at $50 million annually. It would be much better to prevent the disease.”

Their study evaluated influence of vaccine formulation and doses of vaccine on protective immunity of channel catfish against Ich. The results showed that vaccination with live Ich theronts and trophonts killed with high-frequency sound waves stimulated production of protective antibodies in the catfish. “This study demonstrated that vaccines against Ich induced protective immunity and could provide a unique solution to prevent this parasitic disease through vaccination,” Xu said. “An Ich vaccine would have great impact by preventing the disease, minimizing loss of valuable fish and increasing profitability of aquaculture.”

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Credit: Dehai Xu, Ph.D.

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