Friday, October 06, 2006

KHV Vaccine Starts Trials

A British pharmaceutical company, Henderson Morley plc have announced that they have been working on producing a vaccine against KHV (Koi Herpes Virus) over the past 10 months and from these initial studies are now ready to start field trials. They believe that within 6 months with the help of the Internationally renowned Hagerman Aquaculture Research Institute, they can produce a working vaccine that they can then perfect and licence for use.

The company has a lot of expertise in developing products for the pharmaceutical industry, some of them for human virus diseases so are confident of reaching their goals with KHV. They see KHV as an opportunity to develop a product that will benefit a growing number of koi keepers, breeders and fisheries around the world, as well as a fairly quick return for them because animal medicines don't have to undergo such a lengthy trial period as for humans.

This is very encouraging news but a vaccine may still be along time coming before it's available to all of us. It's very probable that as well as the high costs and methods of administering the vaccine that only koi breeders, dealers and vets will require it anyway. One of the greatest challenges to producing a vaccine against KHV is to immunize the koi without exposing them directly to the virus. The Israeli's have developed a type of vaccination that creates immunity in their koi by introducing them to a weakened strain of KHV, and then destroy it by raising the temperature for a while. This does seem to work but nobody really knows 100% if any of the koi could still be carriers or develop symptoms if reinfected years later. With this in mind we shouldn't take any chances and always quarantine new koi and ensure bio-security measures at all times.

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