Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Dis Aquat Org 105: 57–64, 2013


© Inter-Research 2013

doi: 10.3354/dao02600


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.