The objectives of the project are to study nodavirus disease in cultured fish through characterization studies of nodavirus, comparative assessment of new and established diagnostic methods, experimental disease transmission trials and evaluation of the fish immune response to infection. The project should allow development of practical, effective and reliable methods for the diagnosis, prevention and control of nodavirus infections of cultured sea bass and other marine fish in Europe and other Mediterranean countries. Because the proposal deals with a disease which is of major importance to aquaculture industry, especially in Italy and Greece, a participation of an industry Representative from these countries, proposed by the Federation of European Aquaculture Producers, is associated to the project as an expert consultant directly linked to the coordinator. One Official of the FEAP will be also invited once a year to the meetings.
METHODOLOGY AND RESEARCH TASKS
The methology will consist of making a collection of nodavirus originating from a broad geographical range in the Mediterranean region and also from other parts of the world. This virus collection will be studied by standard virological techniques for the purpose of virus characterisation and to investigate the sensitivity of nodavirus to a variety of physical and chemical treatments. The antigenic and genetic relationships of nodavirus strains from the Mediterranean and other geographical regions will be examined to evaluate the specificity of different diagnostic procedures and to try to correlate the variations with the host fish species and/or the geographical origin. The virus collection will be used for a comparative assessment of existing disease diagnostic methods to evaluate the relative merits, limitations and applications of these alternative procedures. When needed, studies for improving the methods will be initiated. Experimental disease transmission trials will be performed in larval, juvenile and adult stages of fish to determine (a) possible routes of nodavirus infection, (b) the persistence of infection in fish tissue and (c) the development of the carrier state in clinically unaffected fish. Finally, immunological studies will be conducted in order to elucidate the humoral immune response of fish to natural infection and to the inactivated virus in order to provide useful information for a future vaccination control strategy.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
FK9 4LA Stirling