Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL), a leading vaccine manufacturer, has entered into a partnership with the Central Institute of Fisheries Education (CIFE), Mumbai, an Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Institute for the commercial development of vaccines against common bacterial diseases in freshwater fishes.
The IIL forayed into the Aqua business in October 2022 by launching products for the aquaculture health market dealing with pond management and fish or shrimp gut management.
Aquaculture sectors play a vital role in meeting the rising global protein demand as the world population is expected to reach 9.8 bn by 2050. India is the 3rd largest fish producer in the global sphere and more than 65% of India’s fish is through Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture. In terms of employment, the sector supports the livelihood of over 28 million people in India, especially the marginalized and vulnerable communities. Export earnings from the fisheries sector were $ 7.76 bn during 2021-2022.
According to Dr K Anand Kumar, Managing Director, Indian Immunologicals Limited said, “IIL has introduced several innovative veterinary vaccines first to the world, like Porcine Cysticercosis vaccine, FMD+HS+BQ combination vaccine and Theileria vaccine. IIL is again the first in India to get fish vaccines. We are committed to introducing more and more products for the aquaculture market and helping shrimp and fish growers to increase their productivity and protect fish schools from various diseases”.
IIL strive to explore solutions for the prevailing challenges faced by Indian fish farmers in their farm production system. CIFE will provide technology for two inactivated bacterial vaccines, one for Columnaris Disease, a serious condition affecting numerous freshwater fish species, and the other for Edwardsiellosis which causes a high degree of mortality, leading to severe economic losses. Both diseases are extremely common in freshwater fishes and are generally considered to be ubiquitous.
“IIL is planning to introduce vaccines and immunostimulants with tech transfer from various fisheries institutes under ICAR. Several fish vaccine candidates are currently being evaluated by IIL for commercialization. Launch of such vaccines may have a positive impact on reducing indiscriminate use of chemical or antibiotic based treatment methods, helping reduce antimicrobial resistance by fish farmers practising environmentally sustainable ways of pond and fish health management”, Dr Priyabrata Pattnaik, Deputy Managing Director, Indian Immunologicals Limited added.
According to Dr CN Ravishankar, Director and Vice Chancellor of ICAR-CIFE, “In support of India’s Blue Revolution, I am glad that CIFE and IIL have come together to partner in developing India’s fist bacterial fish vaccine”.
Aquaculture in India suffers economic losses due to infections caused by several bacterial, viral, fungal, and other aetiological agents. Currently, these infections are being managed by anti-infectives and other conventional measures with varying degrees of success. With the rising concern pertaining to anti-microbial resistance (AMR) and chemical-free food products both at global and domestic platforms, there is a growing need for better control measures against these infections. Currently, there are no fish vaccines available in India on a commercial scale to prevent aquaculture infections.