The researchers who conducted the study on the ISA virus. (Photo: UACH/ Fedequellon)
Study on ISA virus has global impact
Friday, September 24, 2010, 23:40 (GMT + 9)
The results of a study linking the infectious salmon anemia (ISA) virus that hit the Chilean salmon industry with a Norwegian strain of the disease is having an impact worldwide.
A team of scientists from the Aquatic Biotechnology Center at the University of Santiago discovered the link by comparing the genome of infected salmon in Chile with information of fish infected in Norway.
After the research findings were published this month in the Revista de Virología (Virology Magazine), one of the most prestigious in the world in its field, experts from other countries working on the same subject and members of the national and global salmon industry also showed an interest.
"It was logical that the disease had come with their own original host, which is the Atlantic salmon," said Marcelo Cortez San Martin, one of the experts who participated in the investigation.
The researchers confirmed that the virus entered the country through imported eggs and ruled out the possibility that the disease was historically latent in Chile.
"The theory that is known worldwide and which is highly accepted, is that the virus came with the eggs. When Chile first entered the industry, they did not have the technology to reproduce the fish. So initially, they had to be a big importer of the eggs," said Cortez San Martín.
Similarly, it was found that the entry of the virus to the national production chain occurred between 1990 and 1996, as there were no mutations that allowed the virus to fully differentiate itself from its Norwegian "relatives", he added.
What scientists can not clarify is whether the arrival of this virus into the country was intentional or accidental.
"Whilst attempting to discover the molecular traceability of the virus, we realized that one of its proteins facilitates the entry of the virus into its cells, which leads to it being more efficient thus allowing it to spread faster. As a result, this is a very pathogenic virus with a very high mortality rate," said the scientist.
"The ISA virus must have had 140 publications covering it worldwide; many of which will be correct, but when compared to the tens of thousands of human influenza, we can see what it means to have obtained the genome of the ISA virus, which makes a crucial contribution," he concluded, according to the newspaper La Segunda.
- El virus ISA que azotó Chile provino de Noruega, según un estudio
By Analia Murias