DAO 105:57-64 (2013)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02600

Sequence-optimized and targeted double-stranded RNA as a therapeutic antiviral treatment against infectious myonecrosis virus in Litopenaeus vannamei

J. Dustin Loy1,6, Duan S. Loy2, Mark A. Mogler1,4, Bruce Janke3, Kurt Kamrud1,4, D. L. Hank Harris1,3,4, Lyric C. Bartholomay5,*

1Department of Animal Sciences, 2Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine, 3Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, and 5Department of Entomology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011, USA
4Harrisvaccines, Inc., 102 Southern Hills Drive, Suite 101, Ames, Iowa 50010, USA
6Present address: School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska 68583, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Infectious myonecrosis virus (IMNV) is a significant and emerging pathogen that has a tremendous impact on the culture of the Pacific white shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei. IMNV first emerged in Brazil in 2002 and subsequently spread to Indonesia, causing large economic losses in both countries. No existing therapeutic treatments or effective interventions currently exist for IMNV. RNA interference (RNAi) is an effective technique for preventing viral disease in shrimp. Here, we describe the efficacy of a double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) applied as an antiviral therapeutic following virus challenge. The antiviral molecule is an optimized dsRNA construct that targets an IMNV sequence at the 5’ end of the genome and that showed outstanding antiviral protection previously when administered prior to infection. At least 50% survival is observed with a low dose of dsRNA administered 48 h post-infection with a lethal dose of IMNV; this degree of protection was not observed when dsRNA was administered 72 h post-infection. Additionally, administration of the dsRNA antiviral resulted in a significant reduction of the viral load in the muscle of shrimp that died from disease or survived until termination of the present study, as assessed by quantitative RT-PCR. These data indicate that this optimized RNAi antiviral molecule holds promise for use as an antiviral therapeutic against IMNV.


KEY WORDS: Infectious myonecrosis virus · IMNV · RNA interence · RNAi · Double-stranded RNA · dsRNA · Therapeutic · Shrimp · Litopenaeus vannamei


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Cite this article as: Loy JD, Loy DS, Mogler MA, Janke B, Kamrud K, Harris DLH, Bartholomay LC (2013) Sequence-optimized and targeted double-stranded RNA as a therapeutic antiviral treatment against infectious myonecrosis virus in Litopenaeus vannamei. Dis Aquat Org 105:57-64. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02600

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