Competitive Round Call for Expressions of Interest now open. Closes 27 September 2019



Assessment of the capability of Shrimp MultiPath White Spot virus tests: A multiplexed screening platform for pathogen diagnostics in prawns

Project Number:



Genics Pty Ltd

Principal Investigator:

Melony J. Sellars

Project Status:


FRDC Expenditure:





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.