Citation Hoare R, Jung S, Ngo TPH, Bartie K, Baily J, Thompson KD & Adams A (2019) Efficacy and safety of a non-mineral oil adjuvanted injectable vaccine for the protection of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) against Flavobacterium psychrophilum. Fish and Shellfish Immunology, 85, pp. 44-51. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fsi.2017.10.005
Abstract Flavobacterium psychrophilum is the causative agent of Rainbow Trout Fry Syndrome which has had a major impact on global salmonid aquaculture. Recent outbreaks in Atlantic salmon in Scotland and Chile have added to the need for a vaccine to protect both salmon and trout. At present no licensed vaccines are available in Europe, leaving antibiotics as the only course of action to contain disease outbreaks. Outbreaks generally occur in fry at temperatures between 10 and 15 °C. Recently outbreaks in larger fish have given added impetus to the development of a vaccine which can provide long term protection from this highly heterogeneous pathogen. Most fish injectable vaccines are formulated with oil emulsion adjuvants to induce strong and long lasting immunity, but which are known to cause side effects. Alternative adjuvants are currently sought to minimise these adverse effects.
The current study was performed to assess the efficacy of a polyvalent, whole cell vaccine containing formalin-inactivated F. psychrophilum to induce protective immunity in Atlantic salmon. The vaccine was formulated with an adjuvant containing squalene and aluminium hydroxide, and was compared to a vaccine formulated with a traditional oil adjuvant, Montanide ISA 760VG, and a non-adjuvanted vaccine. Duplicate groups of salmon (23.5 ± 6.8 g) were vaccinated with each of the vaccine formulations or phosphate buffered saline by intraperitoneal injection. Fish were challenged by intramuscular injection with F. psychrophilum six weeks post-vaccination to test the efficacy of the vaccines. Cumulative mortality reached 70% in the control salmon, while the groups of salmon that received vaccine had significantly lower mortality than the controls (p = 0.0001), with no significant difference in survival between vaccinated groups. The squalene/alum adjuvant was safe, more readily metabolised by the fish and induced less histopathological changes than the traditional oil adjuvant.