Impact of proteins and protein fouling on virus retention during virus removal filtration

Mohammad A. Afzal, Andrew L. Zydney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Virus filtration is a crucial step in ensuring the high levels of viral clearance required in the production of biotherapeutics produced in mammalian cells or derived from human plasma. Previous studies have reported that virus retention is often reduced in the presence of therapeutic proteins due to membrane fouling; however, the underlying mechanisms controlling this behavior are still not well understood. Experimental studies were performed with a single layer of the commercially available dual-layer PegasusTM SV4 virus removal filter to more easily interpret the experimental results. Bacteriophage ФX174 was used as a model parvovirus, and human immunoglobulin (hIgG) and Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA) were used as model proteins. Data obtained with 5 g/L solutions of hIgG showed more than a 100-fold reduction in virus retention compared to that in the protein-free solution. Similar effects were seen with membranes that were pre-fouled with hIgG and then challenged with ФX174. The experimental data were well-described using an internal polarization model that accounts for virus capture and accumulation within the virus filter, with the hIgG nearly eliminating the irreversible virus capture while also facilitating the release of previously captured virus. These results provide important insights into the performance and validation of virus removal filters in bioprocessing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)710-718
Number of pages9
JournalBiotechnology and bioengineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

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