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Polyvalent vaccine for freshwater catfish


A 2016 survey by the Vietnamese Department of Animal Health found that 80% of the country’s Pangasius (freshwater catfish) farmers dispensed a cocktail of antibiotics to the fish throughout its production cycle. Given the high use of antibiotics, Pangasius was identified as a species that could benefit from vaccination to improve health, reduce pathogen load, and provide farmers with a cost-effective and viable alternative to antibiotics.

Vaccine uptake stalls

Farmers in Vietnam have been slow to adopt the only commercially available Pangasius vaccine (released in 2013). The country’s 2017 policies and laws restricting antimicrobial use encourage uptake of the vaccine, but in order to effectively deliver it, developing an understanding of the barriers that have prevented farmers from using the vaccine is crucial.

Innovative solutions

There are currently no tools to detect immune responses for Pangasius, but this is a necessity of advancing vaccine development and delivery mechanisms.

Two novel technologies will be investigated:

  1. a polyvalent immersion vaccine that will be designed to protect against two important bacterial pathogens affecting the Vietnamese catfish industry; and
  2. a robotic vaccination technology that will reduce fish handling and stress during the vaccination process will be developed and tested for economic viability in collaboration with potential early adopters.

Social science methodologies will identify catalysts and barriers to fish vaccination and feed into programs focussing on training farmers in vaccination.

Remote video URL

Expected results

Both technologies are expected to reduce antibiotic use in the Vietnamese catfish sector and have a positive influence on the adoption of vaccines by fish farmers.

Lead institutions

This project is a collaboration between the University of Stirling in Scotland and the Southern Monitoring Centre for Aquaculture, Environment and Epidemics in Vietnam.

  • Duration: 33 months
  • Budget: CA$1,257,100