DTU VET, Division for Fish Diseases is located in Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark. Besides fully equipped laboratory facilities, it comprises a contained experimental unit capable of conducting challenge trials with all known fish pathogens and bioengineered organisms under both fresh- and salt water conditions, a quarantine unit, and a semi-closed facility for supply of experimental fish, vaccination trials and trials with non-infectious reagents. The facilities can operate at various temperatures and salinities. This guarantees that well-controlled laboratory and tank trials can be conducted with a wide range of fish pathogens on most fresh water fish species and some saltwater fish species. The highly contained facilities enable us to conduct experiments with exotic and highly infectious pathogens. The Division for Fish Diseases is being operated as accredited according to ISO 17025. The service team has in-depth experience in the handling, management and care of fish at all stages. The laboratory is the European Union Reference Laboratory for Fish Diseases and the OIE Reference Laboratory for VHS and is leading within research and diagnostics on listed viral fish diseases.

Name of the infrastructure: Laboratory and Fish tank facilities of DTU National Veterinary Institute, Denmark (DTU-VET)
Location: Frederiksberg, Denmark.
Website address: www.vet.dtu.dk
Contact: Tine Iburg


The facility comprises approx. 100 experimental tanks of various sizes. Both flow-through and recirculation systems can be made available in the tanks. DTU VET has a broad experience with bacterial and viral pathogens. In trial protocols for bacterial and viral pathogens, fish are exposed to test agents by intraperitoneal or intramuscular, through cohabitation or by bath/immersion.
Standardised infection models for fish rhabdoviruses are available. Pharmacological assessments are also offered. Some of the major scientific achievements include:
• Determination and kinetics of the humoral response in fish towards viral and bacterial diseases with related studies in immunology.
• The pathogenicity testing of a large number of isolates of VHSV have explained and changed the view of VHS and its epidemiology dramatically.
• Several new putative emerging fish pathogens have been tested for their infectivity, with results conducting to revision of EU legislation.
A significant part of the studies have been conducted by scientists from most of the world during research visits to our facilities. In the FP7 infrastructure project NADIR, access was given to research groups from Spain, Turkey and Norway, respectively. Access comprise both tank and laboratory facilities as well as all technical support needed for conducting TA research projects

Services currently offered by the infrastructure

DTU VET offers to the Infrastructure programme access to carry out in vivo fish trials with infectious pathogens in various tank types and water qualities (only fish < ½ kg). The access will comprise the use of tanks including maintenance, water supply, daily feeding and husbandry of fish; manipulation, and sampling of fish. On request access to all dry laboratory facilities and other infrastructural, logistical, technical and scientific support to external users is offered.
Scientific support will include advice on experimental design and methodology, documentation of results for all experiments conducted during the project, and appropriate sampling and conservation of samples.

Fish are fed and inspected minimum 2 times a day. Under infection trials inspection frequency will be enhanced according to clinical symptoms. Euthanized and dead fish are collected, labelled and stored. In the unit is also included access to work in lab, e.g. molecular and immunochemical examination of fish, antigen propagation, histopathology etc. The work will be conducted under quality assurance conditions (ISO 17025) and under close supervision of technical and scientific personnel at DTU. Expected output/deliverables for users: Feedback to DTU VET members as a short presentation of results and raised questions will be asked to each research group. Furthermore, a list of difficulties that may have been encountered during the experiment should be completed. Final agreement on sending samples and finalisation of some data collection and samples agreed upon, and early discussion of dissemination of the scientific results in international journals.

Modality of access

Access will be given to the whole facility and will be conducted in a close collaboration with scientists and technical personnel of the facility. Preparation and planning will be done in a consortium with other users in order to cross benefit the trials and laboratory activities.
Applicants will be required to provide detailed information about ethical issues (benefits that justify the use of animals, main adverse effects for the animals as well as steps taken to ensure that the amount of suffering to the animals is minimised). Hereafter DTU VET Division for Fish Diseases will decide whether the proposed trial is possible to conduct at the facility. A detailed research protocol and timeframe will be developed in collaboration with Division for Fish Diseases.
On average each user or user group is expected to stay 30 days at the infrastructure. Prior to the actual start of access. All formalities regarding tank set up, pretreatment of fish and decision about pathogens to be used, will be in place, so that these things are in place prior to the arrival of the applicant, and the trial can start immediately upon arrival.
Week n°1: Meeting with staff of the animal facilities, with information about biosafety measures in the high-containment facilities. Introduction to the experimental facilities, including wet laboratory facilities and laboratories. Meetings with other potential collaborators at the Institute, including scientists, technicians and animal facility staff members. Introduction to the IT-facilities and establishment of office facilities. Meeting with the Veterinarian holding the Animal Experiments License. Introduction to relevant laboratory work, e.g. cell culture, virus isolation, virus identification by immunochemical and/or molecular techniques, during participation in selected laboratory activities. Preparation of fish tanks and start of the experiment. Placing of fish in tanks (1,000-2,000 fish might be included in a trial), infection, collection of samples (always comprehensive in order to avoid unnecessary duplication experiments) according to protocols.
Week n°2: Facilitating the collection of samples during the early phase of infection (preferentially on common working days), this will often already start up during week 1. Clinical observations and registrations. Performance of samples which have to be carried out immediately, e.g. haematological analyses. Euthanasia of some fish with subsequent necropsy and collection and preparation of tissue samples will usually be required.
Week n°3: Fish experiment to be continued as described for week 2, with sampling and surveillance of the experiment. If appropriate, laboratory analyses will be carried out.
Week n°4: Fish experiment to be continued as described for week 2 and 3, with sampling and surveillance of the experiment. If appropriate, laboratory analyses will be carried out. Most infection trials will be finalised approx 20 day after infection. Experiments are usually finalised by euthanasia of surviving fish, followed by sampling. Completion of laboratory examinations.

Unit of Access

This is one day access to 35 small 10-l tanks or to 10 medium 180-l tanks or to 4 large 1000-l tanks and includes access to all laboratory facilities, preparation, project planning, reporting etc. One typical access consists of 40 units of access. It is anticipated that the availability of relevant fish have been coordinated before the stay takes place. Fish (up to 1000) of a given size and conditions are present in and acclimatized to the tanks. Water supply is fresh, brackish or saltwater and temperatures adjusted according to plan.