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Low-cost test to detect IHNV in trout

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Gaskiya Diagnostics, LLC, a technology company that develops and markets rapid, low-cost and easy-to-use diagnostic tests for aquaculture, was awarded a $100,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The grant award will enable the company to accelerate the development of its low-cost, user-friendly, paper-based testing platform. Gaskiya Diagnostics' adaptable technology is suited for the detection of a myriad of disease-causing agents, but this work focuses on Infectious Hematopoietic Necrosis Virus (IHNV) that impacts farm-raised rainbow trout. U.S.-based trout aquaculture is a $229 million industry that loses roughly $30 million to disease each year.

“We put the power of diagnosis directly into the hands of rainbow trout farmers allowing them to immediately make decisions about their crop and take action without the requirement of specialized equipment,” said Mary Larkin, PhD, CEO with Gaskiya Diagnostics and lead for the SBIR project. “Ultimately, faster diagnosis leads to faster treatments, fewer losses and more quality food to meet global demand.”

Gaskiya Diagnostics’ grant-funded work aligns with NIFA’s priorities for its Integrated Aquatic Animal Health Management, which includes addressing aquaculture farmers’ need for on-site, cost-effective detection of disease in rainbow trout production facilities. “This grant will accelerate the development of our platform technology to facilitate the detection of a variety of aquaculture-related disease types,” said Larkin.

USDA’s SBIR Program has awarded more than 2,000 research and development projects since 1983. USDA SBIR's flexible research areas, including aquaculture, ensure innovative projects consistent with USDA's vision of a healthy and productive nation in harmony with the land, air and water.

Last year, Gaskiya Diagnostics, along with other aquaculture-focused startups, participated in Hatch Blue Accelerator’s 90-day accelerator program. HATCH is the world's first accelerator program focused on the aquaculture industry and works to find, develop and scale talented and disruptive aquaculture startups, such as Gaskiya Diagnostics.

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