Assay For Detecting Economically Important Salmonid Pathogens

Case Number: 15-101


  • Diagnostic tool for salmonid disease outbreaks
  • Surveillance testing for demonstrating freedom of infection
  • Routine pathogen testing in moribund fish
  • Pathogen distribution investigations to support regulatory zonation
  • Surveillance of wild fish populations


The most common methods currently used for detecting pathogens in salmonids are PCR-based assays and virus or bacterial isolation. The PCR-based assay can be traditional PCR or real-time PCR, which are designed to detect single targets. Virus isolation may detect one or more viruses using several cell lines, but the technique is laborious, expensive and has a long turnaround time (sometimes more than 30 days). Likewise, the bacterial isolation for Renibacterium salmoninarum (BKD) takes many weeks. The multiplex assay will simultaneously detect more than one pathogen by targeting the nucleic acid sequences of the conserved regions of each pathogen included in the assay. The ability to detect up to six pathogens in one sample can substantially decrease the time and cost of surveillance programs.


This innovative diagnostic assay for the simultaneous detection of salmonid pathogens in a single sample uses fluidic bead-based multiplexing technology. The assay allows the detection of viruses and bacterium in a single analysis in approximately five hours. The cost, turnaround time, and ability to detect up to six economically important pathogens simultaneously while maintaining sensitivity and specificity provide a distinct advantage over current assays for disease surveillance and diagnostic work.


Rapid diagnostic test completed within 5 hours
The assay targets the nucleic acid sequence of the six globally detrimental and economically damaging salmonid pathogens: Infectious Hematopoietic Necrosis Virus (IHNV), Infectious Pancreatic Virus (IPNV), Infectious Salmon Anemia Virus (ISAV), Salmon Alphaviruses (SAV), Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus (VHSV), and Renibacterium salmoninarum, which is the cause of Bacterial Kidney Disease.
The assay detection spectrum can be customized for any combination of 1 to 6 pathogens depending on the needs of clients (producers, practitioners or regulatory agencies) in different geographical locations.

Stage of Development:

The assay is being characterized and validated in terms of sensitivity and specificity to each pathogen. Laboratory validation (analytical sensitivity and specificity) and preliminary field validation (diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of a subset of pathogens) are being done using the protocols and criteria specified by World Health Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), 2010. Over 70 % of the laboratory validation work has already been completed. Additional work will be required for diagnostic validation of all pathogens included.

Patent Protection: A PCT Application has been filed (PCT/CA2014/050972)

Opportunity: Licensing and/or Collaborative R&D