Recent studies have reported very low capacity during sterile filtration of glycoconjugate vaccines due to rapid fouling of the sterile filter. The objective of this study was to explore the potential for significantly increasing the capacity of the sterile filter through the use of an appropriate prefilter. Data were obtained using prefilters with different pore size and chemistry, with the sterile filtration performed at constant filtrate flux using 0.22 μm nominal pore size Durapore® polyvinylidene difluoride membranes. Prefiltration through 5 μm pore size Durapore® or Nylon prefilters nearly eliminated the fouling of the sterile filter, leading to more than a 100-fold reduction in the rate of pressure increase for the sterile filter. This dramatic improvement in sterile filter performance was due to the removal of large components (greater than 1 μm in size) as confirmed by dynamic light scattering. These results demonstrate the potential of using large pore size prefilters to significantly enhance the performance of the sterile filtration process for the production of important glycoconjugate vaccines.
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