Project number: 2018-086
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $163,660.00
Principal Investigator: Melony J. Sellars
Organisation: Genics Pty Ltd
Project start/end date: 28 Mar 2019 - 30 Jan 2020


Biosecurity is the top R&D priority for Australia’s Prawn Farming industry, with the WSSV incursion crippling production in 2017 and 2018, due to the devastation WSSV incurs, Government eradication and biosecurity procedures. Pathogen testing in Australian farms is used sparingly due to it being costly, with slow data turnaround. Current methods commonly test for a single-pathogen in a single-test, being cost-prohibitive for multiple pathogens at $30-$80/test. Australian enterprises commonly test for 4-8 pathogens in any one sample, bringing the minimum spend to $120 and maximum spend $640 per sample. Shrimp MultiPath performs testing for 13 pathogens in a single test, being highly cost-effective with fast data turnaround (24-48h once at laboratory). There are also complex regulatory controls in place on testing of exotic prawn pathogens in Australia, and as such access to laboratories that can undertake exotics testing are limited, resulting in a lack of market competition.

Australia’s industry needs access to cost-effective, fast accurate methods for detecting multiple prawn pathogens, such as Shrimp MultiPath, for clinical disease confirmation, and surveillance in apparently-healthy animals. This will enable farmers to manage the biosecurity-risk posed by pathogen presence within their culture systems and put in-place affordable monitoring for exotic pathogen incursions.

To have Shrimp MultiPath recognised by Australia’s regulatory authorities as suitable for Australia’s farming industry to use for clinical disease confirmation, and surveillance in apparently-healthy animals, each pathogen test within the system needs comprehensive validation on clinical samples, in addition to the synthetic controls for every pathogen for which it is already validated. This project is a first-step to validate the three WSSV tests within Shrimp MultiPath for immediate regulatory approval. This will benefit all Australian Prawn Farmers, giving access to three WSSV approved tests for clinical disease confirmation, and surveillance in apparently-healthy animals that is sensitive, specific, rapid and affordable.


1. Knowledge of the diagnostic performance of the three WSSV tests within Shrimp MultiPath compared to an OIE standard method and the new CSIRO AAHL WSSV qPCR method run at CSIRO AAHL.

Related research


Evaluation of point of care (POC) tests for White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV)

1. Determine the analytical and diagnostic performance characteristics (ASe, ASp, DSe, DSp, repeatability and applicability) of three commercially available immunochromatographic WSSV POC test kits for the detection of WSSV in clinically-affected prawns.
CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory