Mississippi Patent of the Month – February 2022

Researchers at the Mississippi State University have developed a live, attenuated vaccine for Edwardsiella ictaluri bacterium. This bacterium is known to cause enteric septicaemia (ESC) of catfish – better known as Hole-in-the-Head disease. This is the most prevalent disease in the farmed catfish industry.

There is an existing vaccine for ESC but due to its nature, is rifampicin resistant. The researchers at the university sought to develop a vaccine that would not have antibiotic resistance. They created this vaccine using live attenuated Edwardsiella ictaluri bacteria which lack a viable gene encoding a functional evpB protein. Without this protein, the bacterium are unable to infect the catfish, and the catfish can build an immune response to protect themselves from virulent Edwardsiella ictaluri bacterium. The vaccine can be delivered by injection, oral administration or, optimally, by immersion. This means the vaccine can be released into their water and taken up through their skin or gills.

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