Chinese scientists have identified a new virus tagged as being responsible for the mass depletion of shrimps in hatcheries in Guangdong province, with He Jianguo, chief scientist at China’s National Shrimp and Crab Industry Technology Station, saying the virus had a newly-discovered genome, making it the latest virus to zap China’s struggling shrimp industry.

Writing about the matter in the May 8, 2020 issue of Undercurrent News, Louis Harkell quoted He as saying “analysis has shown that ‘glass post-larvae’ is a new, small RNA virus, temporarily named hepatopancreas and digestive tract necrosis virus (HINV.) ”

The finding comes after die-offs of Peneaus vannamei post-larvae (PLs) in Chinese hatcheries, with the affected PLs looking nearly translucent, giving them the appearance of glass. Harkell said videos of so-called “glass post-larvae” have circulated among Chinese shrimp industry groups online, with hatchery operators fearing a new virus was to blame but unable to confirm it.

While outbreaks of glass post-larvae have been reported in previous years, this year’s outbreak has been more severe as the mortality rate after four days reaches 100%, said He. His team identified the virus after purifying virus particles from shrimp samples. The team then sequenced the virus genome. It has also developed a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for HINV, which affects mainly the hepatopancreas, digestive tract and epidermis. “Generally, in diseased shrimp, the body is discolored and transparent. There is necrosis of the pancreas and digestive tract,” He concluded.

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