Total annual production of prawns in Australia in 2016/2017 was approximately 21,000 tonnes, valued at $310 million. Aquaculture production was 4,624 tonnes valued at $85 million and wild harvest production was 20,982 tonnes valued at $310 million. The 2016 WSD outbreak in QLD prawn farms highlighted the need for enhanced biosecurity measures to protect this important industry.
Following the outbreak, the FRDC AAHBS convened a workshop in November 2017 to identify the WSD Research and Development needs of governments and industry to support surveillance, biosecurity and production. The workshop identified a project concept for improved WSSV diagnosis, with a focus on providing capability for rapid on-farm pathogen detection. In farmed prawns WSD can result in 100% mortality within days of infection, making it imperative that farms are able to rapidly identify WSSV and implement emergency control measures.
There are several commercially available POC testing platforms for WSSV, however, there is currently no comparative test performance data to support the use of these WSSV POC tests in Australia for detection of WSSV in clinically-affected prawns. This project will determine the following important information:
• Analytical and diagnostic performance characteristics of three commercially available immunochromatographic WSSV POC test kits.
• Analytical and diagnostic performance characteristics of two commercially available real-time PCR based WSSV POC testing platforms.
• A comparative performance evaluation of the above POC tests to NATA accredited WSSV qPCR assays.
This information is critical for policy-makers, regulators and industry to successfully implement WSSV POC testing on Australian Prawn farms.