Recently, the University of Bergen (UB) engaged a PhD student in a 4-year position (project start Mars 1st 2007), aiming at developing a full-length recombinant salmonid alphavirus 3 (SAV3). This subtype of SAV is the etiologic agent of pancreas disease ( PD) in farmed Atlantic salmon in Norway. As a part of this work, it is desirable to test whether a recombinant SAV3 can carry foreign gene sequences, derived from other fish viruses, and further test if this can inhibit replication of these viruses. As a model for this system, gene sequences from the infectious salmon anaemia virus (ISAV) will be used and attempted silenced. A rationale for such a study is to expand the use of a recombinant SAV into the fields of both vaccinology and therapeutics of viral diseases in fish.
This work will be cooperative between The Norwegian School of Veterinary Science (NVH), The National Veterinary Institute (NVI) and University of Bergen, and aims to result in a SAV-based system for sequence specific silencing of RNA in fish cells. This system will be evaluated for in vitro use, however, it is aimed towards that it in the future can be further developed for in vivo use as well. The project period is three years, and it is only applied for operating costs, 250 000 NOK pe r year, that will cover laboratory equipment, chemicals, sequencing and exchange of personnel between UB, NVI and NVH.