DNA Vaccine Development for Salmon viruses - Integrating innate and adaptive immunity - ImmunDNA

ImmunDNA aims to contribute to the development of more effective vaccines against viral diseases in Atlantic salmon based on DNA vaccine technology. Viral diseases cause large losses in the aquaculture industry and are one of the main challenges for the industry. For some viral diseases there are commercial vaccines in use, but these have limited effects. For some viral diseases there are currently no commercial vaccines available. New and more effective virus vaccines will contribute to improved fish welfare and economic growth. Previous research has shown that DNA vaccines can be very effective in Atlantic salmon, but the effectiveness is not equally good against all viral diseases. It has also been shown that DNA vaccines that consist only of a viral antigen can have limited effectiveness and that adjuvants often are needed to improve the immune response. For example, it has been shown that a DNA vaccine against infectious salmon anemia improves when the gene that codes for Atlantic salmon type I interferon is used as a molecular adjuvant. In ImmunDNA, we will test the effect of several different molecular adjuvants in DNA vaccines against salmon viruses. In addition, new technology that makes it possible to create one vaccine construct for several viral diseases will be tested and optimized for Atlantic salmon and used in combination with molecular adjuvants.

In collaboration with various NFR projects in our group, new methods for monitoring local and systemic immune responses in Atlantic salmon will be implemented in the project. This will provide better insight into which immune mechanisms are important to activate in order to achieve effective DNA vaccines for Atlantic salmon.

Main objective:

To improve current virus vaccines for Atlantic salmon by developing a new generation of DNA vaccines that combine antigens from different viruses and new molecular adjuvants.


  • 1) Create vaccine constructs with various adjuvants and after testing select the most potent for further testing in combination with virus antigens
  • 2) Create a vaccine construct for several viruses, which can be injected as one dose into the fish
  • 3) Identify which cells at the vaccination site are important for providing an effective and protective immune response
  • 4) Develop and test new measurement methods for immune parameters related to protection after DNA vaccination


Ingvill Jensen (Principal investigator)
Eva-Stina Isabella Edholm
Sumaira Bilal
Jaya Kumari Swain
Jorunn Jørgensen
Mehrdad Sobhkhez

Financial/grant information:

Funded by the Norwegian Seafood Research Fund (FHF)

Link to FHFs project page: https://www.fhf.no/prosjekter/prosjektbasen/901759/