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Gettinby Receives Intervet Sea Lice Research Award

Health Post-harvest +1 more

UK Intervets prestigious Dieter Luetticken Award has been granted to Prof Dr George Gettinby from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland for his innovative statistical and epidemiological research methods in sea-lice treatments in salmon farming to minimise the number of animals required in test groups.

Prof. Dr Gettinbys innovative approach has already been adopted by various companies. The sampling principles for monitoring purposes have become the basis for the Scottish governments new sampling guidelines for triggering the use of veterinary medicines. The procedures are currently being considered by the Norwegian authorities.

This year's Award judging panel, composed of experts from public institutions of the animal health/animal testing sector, praised Prof. Gettinbys innovative approach.

Prof. Coenraad Hendriksen of the Netherlands Centre Alternatives to Animal Use, chaired the judging panel. He said that Prof Dr Gettingbys mathematical model had proved a novel approach for investigating the optimal use of treatments and one which has involved minimal use of animals.

"By constructing a mathematical model of the various lice stages on farmed salmon, it is possible to test the effects of treatments at different times of the year. The approaches developed by Prof Dr Gettinby contribute to the reduction and replacement of animal usage for efficacy, safety and quality confirmation of veterinary products. These methods also minimise the use of veterinary medicines in the environment, he added.

Alternative Assessments

Sea-lice treatments are triggered by monitoring sea lice counts on sampled fish. The monitoring practices vary from country to country. Based on Gettinbys expertise in statistics, epidemiology and experimental design, guidance is now available on how many fish should be sampled in order to provide reliable estimates of infections. This has addressed the reduction principle where the right number of fish is sampled. His work demonstrated that due to a phenomenon known as intra-class correlation, it is best to sample few fish from many cages, instead of many fish from few cages.

Gettinbys research also provides an alternative to assessing the effectiveness of veterinary medicines in fish, which supports the replacement principle. This alternative is the adoption of mathematical models which can simulate the effects of treatments on lice populations.

The Dieter Luetticken award was established in 2004 to encourage research into the use of alternative models for animal testing with respect to the development or production of new animal health products. The award is named after Dr. Dieter Luetticken, a committed researcher in microbiology and virology, who guided and shaped Intervets R&D for more than a quarter of a century.

For a more details about the award click here