The key to tackling the new DIV1 shrimp disease raising alarm bells in the sector lies in early detection and intervention, Melony Sellars, global shrimp expert and co-founder of Genics, told IntraFish.

Last year, the Australian company hailed the launch of its "Shrimp MultiPath" testing technology as a scientific breakthrough in shrimp disease detection, adding that it will change the way shrimp farmers manage disease risk.

Other testing systems used by the shrimp industry are only able to test for one pathogen at a time, whereas shrimp may carry up to four at any one time, according to Sellars.

To help producers combat the threat of DIV1, Genics has developed Shrimp MultiPath Xtra, adding DIV1 to the other 13 shrimp pathogens that can be tested in a single assay -- a procedure for measuring the biochemical or immunological activity of a sample.

DIV1 (Decapod iridescent virus 1), originally named CQIV (Cherax quadricarinatus iridovirus) then SHIV (Shrimp Hemocyte Iridescent Virus), was first detected in farmed juvenile and adult crayfish and shrimp in China in 2014.

"Its all about surveillance and early detection, early intervention, mitigation of risk before it becomes a problem," Sellars said. "A large part of this is a proactive industry keeping ahead of the risks."

DIV1 can cause high mortality (above 80 percent) in vannamei and Macrobrachium rosenbergii, according to Huang Jie, a former senior researcher at the Yellow Seas Fisheries Research Institute (YSFRI) in Qingdao, China, and now director general of the network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA) in Bangkok, Thailand.

Another virus concerning the industry and on Genics's radar has been tentatively named “hepatopancreas and digestive tract necrosis virus” (HINV) or "hepatopancreatic translucence virus" (HPTV) by separate teams of scientists.

Amid concern about two recently reported shrimp diseases from China, a group of 25 seafood buying companies sent a letter to authorities in China, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, the world’s top shrimp producers.

Sellars previously worked as a research scientist with Australian federal research organization CSIRO, developing bio-tech tools for the shrimp industry. Given her record of success, the organization agreed for Sellars to establish the company Genics and take the MultiPath technology to market.


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