Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL) has partnered with the Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture (CIFA) for the commercial development of a vaccine against Hemorrhagic Septicemia in freshwater fish. This infection is caused by the opportunistic pathogenic bacterium Aeromonas hydrophila and is a significant economic problem in Indian aquaculture. All of the cultured freshwater fish species in India are susceptible to this disease.
The aquaculture sector is a crucial part of India’s economy, with fisheries providing a livelihood for approximately 28 million people. India is the world’s third-largest fish producer, with more than 65% of the country’s fish coming from inland fisheries and aquaculture. However, disease is a major constraint to the growth of the aquaculture sector globally, with an estimated 20% of all cultured aquatic animals lost due to infectious diseases, resulting in around USD 10 billion in losses annually on a global scale. Vaccination is the most promising and environmentally safe method for controlling diseases, particularly as bacterial pathogens have become resistant to antibiotics and chemotherapeutants used for controlling bacterial diseases.
Dr. K Anand Kumar, Managing Director of Indian Immunologicals Limited, stated that the company is the first in India to develop fish vaccines and is working on defining pathways for the commercial development of fish vaccines in India. Dr. Priyabrata Pattnaik, Deputy Managing Director of IIL, emphasized the company’s commitment to developing vaccines for the fisheries sector as part of the “One Health” initiative aimed at reducing the use of antibiotics and preventing antimicrobial resistance in the environment. Dr. Pramoda Kumar Sahoo, Director of ICAR-CIFA, expressed his satisfaction that IIL had come forward for the commercial development of this vaccine, as there is currently no fish vaccine available in India on a commercial scale to prevent aquaculture infections.