Process intensification for Peste des Petites Ruminants Virus vaccine production

Marcos Sousa, Christel Fenge, Jens Rupprecht, Alexander Tappe, Gerhard Greller, Paula Alves, Manuel Carrondo, António Roldão

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Process intensification for Peste des Petites Ruminants Virus (PPRV) vaccine production in anchorage dependent Vero cells is challenging, involving substantial amount of bioprocess development. In this study, we describe the implementation of a new, scalable bioprocess for PPRV vaccine production in Vero cells using serum-free medium (SFM), microcarrier technology in stirred-tank bioreactors (STB), in-situ cell detachment from microcarriers and perfusion. Vero cells were successfully adapted to ProVero™-1 SFM, reaching growth rates similar to serum-containing cultures (0.030 1/h vs 0.026 1/h, respectively). An in-situ cell detachment method was successfully implemented, with efficiencies above 85%. Up to 2.5-fold increase in maximum cell concentration was obtained using perfusion when compared to batch culture. Combining perfusion with the in-situ cell detachment method enabled the scale-up to 20 L STB directly from a 2 L STB, surpassing the need for a mid-scale platform (i.e. 5 L STB) and thus reducing seed train duration. Head-to-head comparison of cell growth and PPRV production in the 2 L and 20 L STB was performed, and no significant differences could be observed. Estimated infectious PPRV titers in Tissue Culture Infection Dose (TCID50) (TCID50/mL = 5 × 106 and TCID50/cell = 5) are within the log-range reported in literature for PPRV production in STB and SFM by Silva et al. (2008), thus confirming the feasibility and scalability of the seed train designed [1]. The novel and scalable vaccine production process herein proposed has the potential to assist the upcoming Peste des Petites Ruminants (PPR) Global Eradication Program (targeted by FAAO for 2030) by providing African local and/or regional manufacturers with a platform capable of generating over 25,000 doses of Nigeria 75/1 strain in just 19 days using a 20 L STB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7041-7051
Number of pages11
Issue number47
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2019


  • In-situ cell detachment
  • Microcarrier technology
  • Perfusion
  • Scale-up
  • Vero cells

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