Enveloped Virus Flocculation and Removal in Osmolyte Solutions

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Department of Chemical Engineering


Our ability to reduce infectious disease burden throughout the world has been greatly improved by the creation of vaccines. However, worldwide immunization rates are low. The two most likely reasons are the lack of sufficient distribution in underdeveloped countries and the high cost of vaccine products. The high costs are due to the difficulties of manufacturing individual vaccine products with specialized purification trains. In this study, we propose to use virus flocculation in osmolytes, followed by microfiltration, as an alternative vaccine purification operation. In our previous work, we demonstrated that osmolytes preferentially flocculate a non-enveloped virus, porcine parvovirus (PPV). In this work we show that osmolytes flocculate the enveloped virus, Sindbis virus heat resistant strain (SVHR), and demonstrate a > 80% removal with a 0.2μm microfilter membrane while leaving proteins in solution. The best osmolytes were tested for their ability to flocculate SVHR at different concentrations, pH and ionic strengths. Our best removal was 98% of SVHR in 0.3M mannitol at a pH of 5. We propose that osmolytes are able to flocculate hydrophobic non-enveloped and enveloped virus particles by the reduction of the hydration layer around the particles, which stimulates virus aggregation. Now that we have demonstrated that protecting osmolytes flocculate viruses, this method has the potential to be a future platform purification process for vaccines.

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© 2015 Elsevier B.V.

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Journal of Biotechnology