Research

Initial workpackages (WP) focus on the generation of knowledge on relevant antigens, novel (oral) systems to deliver these antigens to (mucosal) body sites and new adjuvants to improve antigenicity or duration of immunity. This information will be evaluated against both, mucosal and systemic protective immune responses. Subsequent WPs focus on improved but also new prototype vaccines which efficacy will be validated not only using in vivo challenges, but preferably using in vitro assays. Efficacy of (adjuvated) vaccines will also be validated for minimal side effects and maximal safety. Further, vaccination protocols will be scrutinized against use under field conditions, shortening the route to implementation of our results. An Industry Forum will shape the discussion between policy makers, scientists and industry.

 

WP 1 Antigens for vaccines and immune response analysis

Bacterial (e.g. Aeromonas salmonicida, Yersinia ruckeri, Flavobacterium psychrophilum, Edwardsiella tarda, Photobacterium damselae subspecies piscicida) and viral (e.g. Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus, Salmon Pancreas Disease Virus, Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis Virus, Spring Viremia of Carp Virus, Cyprinid Herpes Virus-3, Viral Encephalopathy and Retinopathy Virus), inactivated or live (recombinant) antigens will be investigated as antigens for vaccination.

 

WP 2 Development of novel mucosal delivery systems

Oral or immersion delivery of vaccines. Alginate, MicromatrixTM or bacteriophage-based delivery to mucosal surfaces such as the lower gut. Detection of antigen and specific leukocytes at mucosal sites after mucosal vaccination. Evaluation of protection induced by mucosal delivery of (adjuvated) antigens.

 

WP 3 Adjuvants for improved vaccines

Improved and new water-in-oil (W:O) or oil-in-water (O:W) adjuvants for injection vaccination of small fish without side-effects or for oral delivery in combination with mucosal delivery systems. Evaluation of adjuvants for cell-mediated immunity (CMI). Investigation of the protective route of uptake.

 

WP 4 Dissect protective immune responses

Dissection of humoral and cellular immune responses at systemic and mucosal level after injection, immersion or oral vaccination and dissection of protective memory formation. Use of presently successful and efficacious vaccines to detail the protective systemic and mucosal immune pathways.

 

WP 5 Monitoring vaccine efficacy

Optimization of in vivo challenges for vaccine testing. Development of in vitro, but also non-lethal ex vivo assays that permit evaluation of vaccine efficacy with the same reliability as in vivo disease challenge models. Development of antibody- and cell-based immune assays for vaccine testing.

 

WP 6 Side effects and safety

Histopathological examination of tissue damage at sites of vaccination as well as determination of safety of DNA vaccination protocols. Evaluation of fate and persistence of DNA vaccines in the fish (environment).

 

WP 7 Optimising vaccination strategies to field conditions

Optimal prime-boost combinations for mucosal and/or systemic approaches to vaccination. Injection vaccination of small-sized fsh. Development of sensitive assays for monitoring vaccinated fish and infected fish, measured against pathogen variability.