To face this challenge, the research team led by Dr. Marcelo Cortez, virologist, academic, and researcher at the Faculty of Chemistry and Biology of our University, worked together with this veterinary pharmaceutical laboratory on a high-tech vaccine using a recombinant virus. , which could prevent and control the Piscine Orthoreovirus (PRV).
Paola Armijo, USACh Journalist.- The development of the Chilean aquaculture industry has been on the rise in recent years, with exports of seafood products amounting to US$ 7,078 million, 14.7% more than in 2020, according to ProChile.
Among the products most desired by the international market are shellfish and fish such as Southern Hake, Trout and especially Salmon. However, One of the problems that can most alter production management and therefore the success of exports are viruses that cause fish diseases.
This is the problem that the company Veterquímica, a veterinary pharmaceutical laboratory that has more than 50 years of experience in providing solutions for the health, animal nutrition and biosafety industries, among others, sought to solve. “What we needed was to develop a specific antigen for a non-cultivable virus such as the Piscine Orthoreovirus (PRV), in order to create a vaccine and control the disease,” said Samuel Valdebenito, the company’s technical manager.
He explained that andl PRV can cause up to 30% mortality in species, in addition to other consequences derived from the proliferation of the infection. Likewise, he emphasized that “both producers, consumers and destination markets are very concerned about minimizing mortality and the impact that drugs have on aquaculture.”
To face this challenge, joint work with Usach began, through the work of the research team led by Dr. Marcelo Cortez, virologist, academic and researcher at the Faculty of Chemistry and Biology. The objective was to develop a high-tech vaccine using a recombinant virus, which could prevent and control the disease.
“Given the expertise we have as a laboratory, where we can isolate animal viral pathogens and determine how their molecular function is, we are able to offer the company knowledge, techniques, and the possibility of developing high-tech vaccines such as biotechnological ones, using a virus recombinant or a heterologous expression system. Those capabilities, plus the industry’s need to innovate, made this relationship virtuous,” said Dr. Cortez.
Technology that impacts the aquaculture market
After four years of collaboration between our Plant and Veterquímica, important results were achieved, thanks to a technology that allows opening new business opportunities for the company and positively impacting the aquaculture market.
Samuel Valdebenito stressed that working with Usach meant “promoting, accelerating and streamlining the development of a solution.” He added that “we have formulated experimental and laboratory vaccines, which have shown very good results and excellent levels of protection and control of the disease. Now, we are working on the expansion of the product at an industrial level”.
He pointed out that this project allowed the addition of other capabilities to the Veterquímica scientific teams, which was given through the support they received from the research group led by Dr. Cortez.
To learn more about this experience, we invite you to review the video testimonial on the Youtube channel of the Vice-Rectory for Research, Innovation and Creation, Vriic and on the menu Success stories from the DGT website.