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Novel Novartis Vaccine to protect Canadian Salmon Farms from devastating Viral Disease

Salmonids Health Welfare +4 more

SWITZERLAND - Apex-IHN, the first effective vaccine to prevent Infectious Haematopoietic Necrosis (IHN) in farm raised Atlantic Salmon, was cleared for marketing by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on July 15.

Novartis Animal Health

IHN is a spreading viral disease causing serious economic losses for the salmon industry in British Columbia, Canada. Apex-IHN, developed by Aqua Health, Ltd., Canada, an affiliate of Novartis Animal Health, is also the first approved vaccine, using the DNA-technology licensed from Vical Inc. (Nasdaq:VICL), to induce an effective immune response in fish.

Garth Greenham, Director of Aqua Health, Ltd., points to the new vaccine technology used to develop Apex-IHN and the many advantages this technology affords. The vaccine creates a fast, effective and long-lasting immune response; has no adjuvant or toxin-derived side effects; and reduces growth depression generally observed after use of currently available fish vaccines. Apex-IHN is the first approved vaccine of its kind for use in fish. And a number of research groups are currently developing such vaccines against different diseases out of reach of available vaccine technologies in the animal and human health field, Greenham says. Apex-IHN stimulates the fish to produce a pure viral protein, which in turn triggers the desired immune response a new approach with well documented advantages regarding effectiveness and tolerability.

Apex-IHN is a cornerstone in the prevention of this economically significant disease and has been shown in trials to provide strong protection against the virus and improve productivity of salmon farms. Apex-IHN is available to authorized users through Aqua Health, Ltd., Canada.

IHN is caused by a virus that affects both multiple species of wild and farm-raised Atlantic Salmon. The disease is endemic in the Pacific North West in wild salmon populations, which has been a source of infection for farm-raised fish. Farm-raised Atlantic Salmon are particularly susceptible to the virus when they are transferred to sea-water pens in the Pacific. Outbreaks of IHN can devastate a population of farm-raised salmon, with mortality rates up to 90 percent, and have caused serious economic losses for the industry since the disease was first noted in farmraised salmon in the early 1990s.

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