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Fish can smell viruses, Texas State researchers discover

Research could change future nasal vaccines

SAN ANTONIO – Research reveals that fish can smell viruses in a study released by Texas State University and University of New Mexico researchers.

The study opens a new area of research in mammal immunology because all vertebrates share common traits in their sense of smell and immune system, said Texas State principal investigator Mar Huertas.

The findings shed new light on immunological responses in vertebrates and could influence the design and delivery of future nasal vaccines, according to a news release.  

Researchers said the discovery can positively affect fish vaccination in aquaculture.

"Half the fish found on the market comes from aquaculture," Huertas said. 

For the study, Huertas exposed a trout to an infectious virus and then recorded the neural and electric responses of the fish nose. The response in the fish nose was direct evidence that the fish could detect a pathogen. 

To read the full study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, click here