Each year, bacterial and viral diseases wipe out 5% of the world’s farmed fish stocks – equating to a loss of more than 10 billion USD. Disease can decimate aquaculture farms and destabilize a developing nation’s entire maritime economy.
Oral fish vaccination is the most cost-effective way to reduce loss, but are not widely available. Those that are, generally, show poor efficacy. The aquaculture industry is left with two options: administer antibiotics, which end up on our plates, or vaccinate hundreds of millions of fish by hand. Both methods are expensive, labor-intensive and unsustainable.
Microsynbiotix is developing a user-friendly and cost-efficient oral delivery method to vaccinate fin fish and shrimp against viral disease outbreaks. The technology locks vaccines inside microalgae’s biomass, turning the algae, itself, into an oral vaccine delivery system.
The potential implications of micro-algal oral vaccines are huge. Stock-depleting disease outbreaks, affecting both large-scale aquaculture companies and individual fish farmers, would dramatically decrease, productivity would increase and antibiotics would lose their appeal.