Particle quantification of influenza viruses by high performance liquid chromatography
J. Transfiguracion, A. P. Manceur, E. Petiot, C. M. Thompson, A. A. Kamen
The influenza virus continuously undergoes antigenic evolution requiring manufacturing, validation and release of new seasonal vaccine lots to match new circulating strains. Although current production processes are well established for manufacturing seasonal inactivated influenza vaccines, significant limitations have been underlined in the case of pandemic outbreaks. The World Health Organization called for a global pandemic influenza vaccine action plan including the development of new technologies. A rapid and reliable method for the quantification of influenza total particles is crucially needed to support the development, improvement and validation of novel influenza vaccine manufacturing platforms. This work presents the development of an ion exchange-high performance liquid chromatography method for the quantification of influenza virus particles. The method was developed using sucrose cushion purified influenza viruses A and B produced in HEK 293 suspension cell cultures. The virus was eluted in 1.5 M NaCl salt with 20 mM Tris–HCl and 0.01% Zwittergent at pH 8.0. It was detected by native fluorescence and the total analysis time was 13.5 min. A linear response range was established between 1 × 109 and 1 × 1011 virus particle per ml (VP/ml) with a correlation coefficient greater than 0.99. The limit of detection was between 2.07 × 108 and 4.35 × 109 whereas the limit of quantification was between 6.90 × 108 and 1.45 × 1010 VP/ml, respectively. The coefficient of variation of the intra- and inter-day precision of the method was less than 5% and 10%. HPLC data compared well with results obtained by electron microscopy, HA assay and with a virus counter, and was used to monitor virus concentrations in the supernatant obtained directly from the cell culture production vessels. The HPLC influenza virus analytical method can potentially be suitable as an in-process monitoring tool to accelerate the development of processes for the manufacturing of influenza vaccines.