Qualification of a novel inline spiking method for virus filter validation

Herbert Lutz, Wayne Chang, Tamas Blandl, Gisela Ramsey, Joe Parella, John Fisher, Eva Gefroh
Biotechnology Progress 2011, 27 (1): 121-8
Virus filters are widely used in bioprocessing to reduce the risk of virus contamination in therapeutics. The small pores required to retain viruses are sensitive to plugging by trace contaminants and frequently require inline adsorptive prefiltration. Virus spiking studies are required to demonstrate virus removal capabilities of the virus filter using scale down filters. If prefiltration removes viruses and interferes with the measurement of virus filter LRV, the standard approach is to batch prefilter the protein solution, spike with virus, and then virus filter. For a number of proteins, batch prefiltration leads to increased plugging and significantly lower throughputs than inline prefiltration. A novel inline spiking method was developed to overcome this problem. This method allows the use of inline prefiltration with direct measurement of virus filter removal capabilities. The equipment and its operation are described. The method was tested with three different protein feeds, two different parvovirus filters, two virus injection rates; a salt spike, a bacteriophage spike, and two mammalian virus spikes: MMV and xMuLV. The novel inline method can reliably measure LRV at throughputs representative of the manufacturing process. It is recommended for applications where prefiltration is needed to improve throughput, prefiltration significantly reduces virus titer, and virus filter throughput is significantly reduced using batch vs. inline prefiltration. It can even help for the case where the virus preparation causes premature plugging.

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