Fast test to de­tect deadly heart dis­ease

Fish Farmer - - News -

AN early warn­ing sys­tem for one of farmed salmon’s dead­li­est dis­eases is be­ing de­vel­oped by a Scot­tish re­search con­sor­tium.

Car­diomy­opa­thy syn­drome (CMS), a fa­tal vi­ral dis­ease which causes in­flam­ma­tion of the heart, is known to be caused by piscine my­ocardi­tis virus (PMCV), although the trig­gers for the dis­ease are not fully un­der­stood.

It can lead to heart fail­ure in ap­par­ently healthy fish, re­sult­ing in sig­nif­i­cant stock losses, and is an in­creas­ing is­sue for the Scot­tish salmon in­dus­try.

While there is no vac­cine or treat­ment for CMS, a warn­ing sys­tem would en­able salmon pro­duc­ers to bet­ter man­age the dis­ease and take pre­ven­ta­tive steps to min­imise its im­pact.

In its early stages, CMS is dif­fi­cult to de­tect and fish can be in­fected for some time be­fore symp­toms ap­pear.

The team in­volved in the re­search in­clude Cooke Aqua­cul­ture, the Univer­sity of Ed­in­burgh, Life Di­ag­nos­tics, Bench­mark Ge­net­ics,

More­dun Re­search In­sti­tute and the Scot­tish Aqua­cul­ture In­no­va­tion Cen­tre (SAIC).

They aim to iden­tify spe­cific car­diac mark­ers in the blood of fish, which can be used to de­tect CMS prior to signs of clin­i­cal dis­ease.

In both hu­man and ve­teri­nary medicine, car­diac is­sues are al­ready de­tected via biomark­ers, mea­sured us­ing com­mer­cial test­ing kits.They will iden­tify new car­diac mark­ers to specif­i­cally de­tect heart dis­ease in salmon and ap­ply th­ese to di­ag­nos­tic tech­niques cur­rently used in hu­man and ve­teri­nary di­ag­nos­tics.

This will in­clude tests adapted for on-site farm test­ing with the abil­ity to pro­vide results in less than three hours.

The biomark­ers could also help to dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween CMS and salmon dis­eases such as pan­creas dis­ease and heart and skele­tal mus­cle in­flam­ma­tion.

The project out­comes could also con­trib­ute to fu­ture ge­netic breed­ing pro­grammes against CMS, us­ing the method­olo­gies to select fish that show phys­i­o­log­i­cal re­sis­tance.

Above: Get­ting to the heart of killer dis­ease

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