Efficacy of DNA Vaccines in Protecting Rainbow Trout against VHS and IHN under Intensive Farming Conditions

Andrea Marsella*, Francesco Pascoli, Tobia Pretto, Alessandra Buratin, Lorena Biasini, Miriam Abbadi, Luana Cortinovis, Paola Berto, Amedeo Manfrin, Marco Vanelli, Simona Perulli, Jesper S. Rasmussen, Dagoberto Sepúlveda, Niccolò Vendramin, Niels Lorenzen, Anna Toffan

*Corresponding author for this work

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Despite the negative impact of viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) and infectious hematopoietic necrosis (IHN) on European rainbow trout farming, no vaccines are commercially available in Europe. DNA vaccines are protective under experimental conditions, but testing under intensive farming conditions remains uninvestigated. Two DNA vaccines encoding the glycoproteins (G) of recent Italian VHSV and IHNV isolates were developed and tested for potency and safety under experimental conditions. Subsequently, a field vaccination trial was initiated at a disease-free hatchery. The fish were injected intramuscularly with either the VHS DNA vaccine or with a mix of VHS and IHN DNA vaccines at a dose of 1 µg/vaccine/fish, or with PBS. At 60 days post-vaccination, fish were moved to a VHSV and IHNV infected facility. Mortality started 7 days later, initially due to VHS. After 3 months, IHN became the dominant cause of disease. Accordingly, both DNA vaccinated groups displayed lower losses compared to the PBS group during the first three months, while the VHS/IHN vaccinated group subsequently had the lowest mortality. A later outbreak of ERM caused equal disease in all groups. The trial confirmed the DNA vaccines to be safe and efficient in reducing the impact of VHS and IHN in farmed rainbow trout.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2062
Issue number12
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • DNA vaccine
  • IHN
  • VHS
  • Field trial
  • Rainbow trout


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