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Thread: KHV research update

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Mission Viejo, CA

    KHV research update

    Spike Cover here. I’ve been more or less in charge of the AKCA’s Project KHV since about mid-2005. I tried to post on the "KHV research in the USA" thread but it was closed. So I started this thread and did a copy and past of what I'd prepared for the other.

    Here’s what we think we know about research:

    Vaccine work is being done at:
    ● Yoshimura & Miyazaki, Mie University, Japan
    ● Aoki, Tokyo University, Japan
    ● Perelberg & Kotler, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Israel
    ● Levine & Shivappa, NCSU – Project KHV has sent partial funding for this project.
    ● Ritchie, UGA – AKCA has sent past funding that resulted in a serology test for KHV antibodies
    ● Private – unknown but rumor has it that Novartis may be working on a vaccine.

    And, about some of the other work being done:
    ● UC Davis, BARD grants totaling $612,000, one is relatively new/current – work on characterizing the disease
    ● CEFAS, Weymouth, UK - testing, carrier studies and epidemiology
    ● FLI, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Insel Riems, Germany) – KHV occurrence in fish other than common carp and koi.
    ● University of Hokkaido, Hakodate, Japan – work on sanitizing techniques for water and mud.
    Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, Japan – complete sequencing (and some analysis) of the KHV genome
    ● Central Fish Health Laboratory, Nir David, Israel – looking at infection of other species, latency (carrier) status, serology testing.
    ● University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff, USA – tacman PCR testing, latency – AKCA has funded latency studies at UAPB
    ● University of Munich, Institute of Zoology, Fish Biology and Fish Diseases, Munich, Germany – epidemiology and LAMP testing
    ● National Research Institute of Aquaculture (NRIA), Japan – pathology and vertical transmission plus control with vaccination and elevated temps

    It is difficult to find projects that have the three qualifications that we need: 1) fall within our target goals, 2) are worth the money and 3) we have the money to participate. I’ve had more than one researcher say the equivalent of, “Give us $500,000 and a few years and we’ll solve your problem.” As yet, we’ve had no proposals from these folks even though we’ve asked them to submit. We will not fund projects w/o a pretty good idea of what our money is buying (and I’m not talking about guaranteed results – just a plan of accomplishment we can track).

    Re: testing the Israeli vaccine. We can find no one yet who’s been willing to do that testing (and we’ve asked). We may have one about to submit a proposal (but hasn’t yet). Here’s another little known fact about the Israeli modified live vaccine: (an example of some of the things you learn when you get a bit closer to the subject) scientists who are well respected and well positioned to know, say that even if the Israeli modified live vaccine is effective, it would be nearly impossible to get it approved for import into the US. Reason: there needs to be safety testing done that shows that the virus will not revert to the wild type and become virulent (cause diseases you’re trying to prevent) as this type of testing is difficult and reportedly very costly. I don’t understand the intricacies of this so I’m sorry I can’t explain it (something about 5 back-passes). The “so what” of all this is that even if it works, we may not be able to get it in the country.

    For information: Project KHV is preparing a Request for Proposal that will solicit plans for an education program to transfer what is known, what is important but not known and what is under study regarding KHV. Further it will provide Best Practices information on how to guard against KHV until we have an effective means to prevent the disease. We are not sure what form or forms the educational material will take just yet.

    I can’t tell you everything I know about all this stuff as some of it is confidential. But work is being done as we speak and Project KHV is actively and aggressively seeking ways to be part of the solution. We have just recently received a second proposal for a DNA vaccine.

    All of us involved in the project wish we had more time (and energy) to keep the world posted regarding what we do. Ray often spends 8 to 10 hours a day working this project and he's been a great asset. So we frequently have to prioritize. I have three things in my “tickler” file just tonight that I must respond to regarding research and education on KHV. I took quite a bit of time to compose this response because 1) it looked like things were somewhat deteriorating in this thread, 2) many folks seem to want to know what’s happening and 3) I’m hoping I can persuade some of the fence sitters and lurkers (you know who you are <grin>) to “come on down” and help us win this fight.

    Lastly I’ll say that Monday-morning quarterbacking is largely unproductive. I like Mike M’s attitude (post #20 - of the other thread). He’s already part of the solution and we’ll welcome any others of you who wish to join us. You may also want to take a look here: http://www.texaskoi.com/akcaprojectkhv/index.htm

    Best regards,

    PS, I don’t frequent BBs. A friend told me of this thread and suggested I pop in a take a look. So, if you want/need to communicate with me, you can email me directly at [email protected] (Constructive opinions/comments only, please. I don’t have time or the inclination to respond to anything else.)

  2. #2
    Honmei KoiCop's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Southern California

    Thank you, Spike . . .

    well said and much needed. Keep up the good work.

  3. #3
    Oyagoi bekko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    I know almost nothing about the nuts and bolts of making a vaccine and have only been on the periphery of aquatic vaccine development programs. The techies do say that creating a live vaccine is much less involved, quicker, and less expensive. Thus, a live vaccine was the logical first step for the Israelis.

    As Spike and Brian have said, this live vaccine will never be used in Japan, US, England, etc. because of the possibility (however remote) that a vaccinated fish could be a carrier of viable virons. The cost to prove (beyond doubt) that a live vaccine or an inactivated whole virus vaccine is safe, will likely to be higher than the cost to produce a recombinant vaccine or a DNA vaccine. This is because the probability and incidence of creating a carrier fish through vaccination with a good live or inactivated vaccine is so remote that you have to carry a lot of fish for a long time in order to demonstrate that the probability approaches zero. You also have to have control groups, and an expensive bullet-proof biosecurity system.

    As we have read here on Koi Bito, there is a strong difference of opinion about whether or not the Israeli vaccine can create carrier fish. I suspect that both sides are correct in this debate. The Israeli vaccine is almost always safe and effective and is a benefit overall. But, the possibility of creating an occasional carrier fish in the process is possible and, given enough time and enough fish, is bound to happen eventually.

    I confess to not having yet made my contribution to the KHV Foundation. Nonetheless, I fully support the program and all you generous contributors will eventually shame me into following suit. Unfortunately, getting all the dead-beats like myself to dig into their pockets will not guarantee success. The dollar amounts may still be insufficient for the task at hand.

    The $120,000 collected to date sounds like a sizeable sum, but what can you do with it? That’s not enough to pay one scientist and one graduate student for a year with enough left over to buy the needed supplies, pay for equipment upkeep and depreciation, and pay institutional overhead costs. If the lab and staff are any good, it’s not enough to overcome the lost opportunity to go after a larger contract. Labs working on aquatic animal vaccines can easily burn through a half-million bucks a year, and still poor-mouth about slow progress because of a chronic lack of funds.

    To make any serious progress, you need the gov’ment throwing serious pork at the problem. Since the Japanese and Israelis are the ones who can make the case that a significant commercial industry is being impacted, these are the countries that may be able to convince their respective gov’ments to fund the research.

    The real value and impact of the KHV Foundation may to demonstrate that there is grass-roots support for KHV research. In this respect, a well-written letter of support sent to the right office at the right moment may do more for the cause than your monetary contribution.

    I applaud the Foundation’s insistence on a concise work plan and accountability. But, since the Foundation is unlikely to be a major player in the funding arena, it needs to consider how to leverage its unique position to make a major impact. A difference between the Foundation and gov’ment sources of funds is the Foundations agility. Because it is not encumbered by red tape, does not have stifling bureaucratic processes, and is controlled by a relatively small and manageable group of people, the Foundation should be able to move much more quickly than most funding agencies.

    The largest problem in managing a research lab is the wildly fluctuating cash flow. After a proposal is submitted, it may take one to two years before funds become available and then those funds have to be expended within a prescribed time frame. You have to submit proposals to a variety of sources in hopes that one or two will hit pay dirt. Some years you may end up with more work than you can handle, and in others years there may be no work at all. Its feast of famine. This results in gross inefficiencies. That technician with the magic touch may have to be let go when funding runs out and then a new guy has to be trained when a new funding cycles begins.

    If the KHV Foundation will recognize and promote its inherent agility, it may be able to move in at strategic points to provide stop-gap funding for labs which are doing great work, but are temporarily running out of money. In doing so, the Foundation may be able to make a really significant impact on KHV research with a modest amount of funds.

    -steve hopkins

  4. #4
    MCA is offline
    Honmei MCA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Excellent posts gentlemen!!!

    I would highly recommend folks who want to know more about KHV research attend the Koi Health Management Conference at the University of Georgia in Athens in February. The conference is organized by Bran Ritchie's department. This is the 3rd year for the event. If there is a waiting list (likely), you can plan to attend in 2007.

    • Branson Ritchie, DVM, PhD
      The University of Georgia
      College of Veterinary Medicine
    • Stephen Hernandez-Divers, BVetMed
      The University of Georgia
      College of Veterinary Medicine
    • Victoria Vaughan
      The University of Georgia
      College of Veterinary Medicine
    • Erik Johnson, DVM
      Johnson Veterinary Services
      Marietta, Georgia
    • Helen Roberts, DVM
      5 Corners Animal Hospital
      Orchard Park, NY
    • Jo Anne Maki, DVM, Ph.D.
      Athens, Georgia
    • Tim Miller-Morgan, DVM
      Hatfield Marine Science Center
      Oregon State University
      Newport, OR

    Friday, February 17
    Sessions to be held at the Athens Holiday Inn, Georgian West.

    1:00-1:30 p.m.Registration, Georgian West Hallway
    1:30-2:15Conference Overview and Laboratory Instructions
    2:15-2:30Refreshment Break, Georgian West
    2:30-5:30Biology of Fishes
    7:00-9:00Standing Dinner Reception, Georgian West

    Saturday, February 18
    Sessions to be held at the College of Veterinary Medicine.

    7:30-8:00 a.m.Continental Breakfast
    8:00-10:30Parasites, Bacteria, & Fungi
    10:30-10:45Refreshment Break
    10:45-NoonPreparation for Laboratory
    Noon-12:45 p.m.Lunch
    12:45-3:00Triage Diagnostic Procedures, Sampling Procedures
    3:00-3:15Refreshment Break
    3:15-4:30Laboratory Session Anesthesia, Wet Mount, Necropsy, & Bacteria
    4:30-5:00Participant Roundtable Questions and Answers

    Sunday, February 19
    Sessions to be held at the College of Veterinary Medicine.

    7:30-8:00 a.m.Continental Breakfast
    8:00-10:00KHV & Viruses: Managing Disease Outbreak
    10:00-10:15Refreshment Break
    10:15-NoonTreatment Regimes What's New in the Industry & Case InteractionNoon-
    12:45 p.m.Lunch
    12:45-3:00Fish Endoscopy
    3:00-3:15Refreshment Break
    3:15-4:30Laboratory Session Endoscopy and Surgery
    4:30-5:00Participant Roundtable Questions and Answers
    Koi keeping is not a belief system; it is applied science with a touch of artistry.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Puerto Rico
    So there are a number of projects that the AKCA has already helped to fund, and more on the way. Thank you for taking the time to post the detailed information. I would like to apologize to you for any disrepute the other thread may have brought, hopefully this will be a good lesson to us all. Keep up the good work, and thank you Ray, for all of your efforts.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    82 Miles east of Waddy
    Spike & co,

    keep up the good work and thanks for the update.

    Steve W

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Quote Originally Posted by KoiCop
    well said and much needed. Keep up the good work.
    Ditto and thank you

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Excellent suggestions and very well written

  9. #9
    Guest Nancy M.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Lakewood, So Calif

    Thank you, for posting and sharing all the information. I think this will help to keep this thread positive.

  10. #10
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Orlando, Florida
    Good stuff. ...And thanks, Luke. You stirred the pot, and the good stuff rose to the top.

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