In fish, DNA vaccines have been shown to give very high protection in experimental facilities against a number of viral diseases, particularly diseases caused by rhabdoviruses. However, their efficacy in generating protection against other families of fish viral pathogens is less clear. One DNA vaccine is currently in use commercially in fish farms in Canada and the commercialisation of another one was authorised in Europe in 2017. The mechanism of action of DNA vaccines, including the role of the innate immune responses induced shortly after DNA vaccination in the activation of the adaptive immunity providing longer term specific protection, is still not fully understood. In Europe the procedure for the commercialisation of a veterinary DNA vaccine requires the resolution of certain concerns particularly about safety for the host vaccinated fish, the consumer and the environment. Relating to consumer acceptance and particularly environmental safety, a key question is whether a DNA vaccinated fish is considered a Genetically Modified Organism (GMO). In the present opinion paper these key aspects relating to the mechanisms of action, the development and the use of DNA vaccines in farmed fish are reviewed and discussed.
- DNA vaccine