Point of care test for aquaculture and control of koi herpesvirus disease outbreaks by proactive management of water temperature.

Supervisor: Irene Cano (Centre for Environment Fisheries & Aquaculture Science – Cefas, Weymouth)
Aquaculture (both fresh and marine water) is a rapidly growing part of agriculture and also a greatsource of high-quality protein. This growing industry is facing many challenges, among them,infectious diseases and lack of vaccines which threaten food security. Early diagnosis of the pathogen(i.e. by the development of point of care test for on-site use) and the development of immunity (i.e. byunderstanding pathogen-host responses and window of disease) is essential to maximize profitability.For emerging pathogens like koi herpesvirus (KHV) measures to prevent the onset of the disease andadvice on fish movements are essential. KHV is the causative agent of KHVD, a devastating diseaseof common carp and one of the main threats to carp production. Understanding how to decrease theamount of viral shedding during KHV infection is key to limiting the spread of the disease andsubsequent economic losses. The present study shows that by managing water temperature, mortalityassociated with KHV can be suppressed, i.e. from 100% mortality at permissible KHVD temperatureto 0% mortality in infections occurred during non-KHVD-permissible temperatures. This studyshowed for the first time that KHV infection suppresses the complement system and elicits poorantibody production at the mucosal site in seronegative fish, allowing for a long window of viralshedding regardless of the temperature of infection. Understanding the host response to KHV infectioncan aid in designing drugs and vaccines to prevent viral recurrences (and subsequent further shedding) from the latency stage of KHV infection.Moreover, an early system of pathogen detections either at the pond-site or at border post inspectionsis essential to prevent disease outbreaks and the introduction of exotic pathogens via internationalcommercial trade. In the present study, real-time loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assays for the exotic pathogens Bonamiaostreae and Aphanomycesinvadans have been in silico designed.