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Purification of cell culture-derived influenza A virus via continuous anion exchange chromatography on monoliths

Laura M. Fischer, Michael W. Wolff, Udo Reichl, Vaccine 2017 July 17

The continuously increasing demand for potent and safe vaccines and the intensifying economic pressure on health care systems underlines the need for further optimization of vaccine manufacturing. Here, we focus on downstream processing of human influenza vaccines, investigating the purification of serum free cell culture-derived influenza virus (A/PR/8/34 H1N1) using continuous chromatography. Therefore, quaternary amine anion exchange monoliths (CIM QA) were characterized for their capacity to capture virus particles from animal cells cultivated in different media and their ability to separate virions from contaminating host cell proteins and DNA. The continuous chromatography was implemented as simulated moving bed chromatography (SMB) in a three zone open loop configuration with a detached high salt zone for regeneration.
SMBs exploiting 10% and 50% of the monoliths’ dynamic binding capacity, respectively, allowed the depletion of >98% of the DNA and >52% of the total protein. Based on the hemagglutination assay (HA assay), the virus yield was higher at 10% capacity use (89% vs. 45%). Both SMB  separations resulted in a ratio of total protein to hemagglutinin antigen (based on single radial diffusion assay, SRID assay) below the required levels for manufacturing of human vaccines (less than 100 mg of protein per virus strain per dose). The level of contaminating DNA was five-times lower for the 10% loading, but still exceeded the required limit for human vaccines. A subsequent Benzonase treatment step, however, reduced the DNA contamination below 10 ng per dose. Coupled to continuous cultivations for virus propagation, the establishment of integrated processes for fully continuous production of vaccines seems to be feasible.

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