Virus Harvesting in Perfusion Culture: Choosing the Right Type of Hollow Fiber Membrane
The use of bioreactors coupled to membrane‐based perfusion systems enables very high cell and product concentrations in vaccine and viral vector manufacturing. Many virus particles, however, are not stable and either lose their infectivity or physically degrade resulting in significant product losses if not harvested continuously. Even hollow fiber membranes with a nominal pore size of 0.2 µm can retain much smaller virions within a bioreactor. Here, we report on a systematic study to characterize structural and physicochemical membrane properties with respect to filter fouling and harvesting of yellow fever virus (YFV; ~50 nm). In tangential flow filtration perfusion experiments, we observed that YFV retention was only marginally determined by nominal but by effective pore sizes depending on filter fouling. Evaluation of scanning electron microscope images indicated that filter fouling can be reduced significantly by choosing membranes with certain characteristics.