The meningococcal C conjugate vaccine (MenCC) is an interesting model with which to test the efficacy of the Monocyte Activation Test (MAT) as an alternative method of pyrogen testing in the quality control of vaccines. The MenCC that has been produced by Bio-Manguinhos in Brazil is in the final development stage, and, as recommended in the guidelines for MenCC production, its pyrogen content must be determined by using the Limulus Amoebocyte Lysate (LAL) assay and the Rabbit Pyrogen Test (RPT). This represents an ideal opportunity to compare LAL and RPT data with data obtained by using a MAT system with cryopreserved whole blood and IL-6/IL-1beta as marker readouts. In order to assess the compatibility of the MAT with MenCC, endotoxin and non-endotoxin pyrogen content was quantified by using MenCC samples spiked with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), lipoteichoic acid or zymosan standards. The presence of the aluminium-based adjuvant interfered with the MAT, increasing the readout of IL-1beta in LPS-spiked MenCC batches. This infringed the product-specific validation criteria of the test, and led to IL-6 being chosen as the more suitable marker readout. No pyrogenic contaminants were identified in the MenCC batches tested, demonstrating consistency among the different systems (MAT, RPT and the LAL assay). In conclusion, the introduction of the MAT during MenCC development could contribute to the elimination of animal tests post-licensing, ensuring human protection based on an effective non-animal based method of quality control.
Applicability of the Monocyte Activation Test (MAT) in the Quality Control of the 17DD Yellow Fever Vaccine
Katherine Antunes de Mattos, Elaine Cristina Azevedo Navega, Vitor Fernandes Silva, Alessandra Santos Almeida, Cristiane Caldeira da Silva, Octavio Augusto França Presgrave, Daniel da Silva Guedes Junior and Isabella Fernandes Delgado
The need for alternatives to animal use in pyrogen testing has been driven by the Three Rs concept. This has resulted in the inclusion of the monocyte activation test (MAT) in the European Pharmacopoeia, 2010. However, some technical and regulatory obstacles must be overcome to ensure the effective implementation of the MAT by the industry, especially for the testing of biological products. The yellow fever (YF) vaccine (17DD-YFV) was chosen for evaluation in this study, in view of: a) the 2016–2018 outbreak of YF in Brazil; b) the increase in demand for 17DD-YFV doses; c) the complex production process with live attenuated virus; d) the presence of possible test interference factors, such as residual process components (e.g. ovalbumin); and e) the need for the investigation of other pyrogens that are not detectable by the methods prescribed in the YF vaccine monograph. The product-specific testing was carried out by using cryopreserved and fresh whole blood, and IL-6 and IL-1β levels were used as the marker readouts. After assessing the applicability of the MAT on a 1:10 dilution of 17DD-YFV, endotoxin and non-endotoxin pyrogens were quantified in spiked batches, by using the lipopolysaccharide and lipoteichoic acid standards, respectively. The quantitative analysis demonstrated the correlation between the MAT and the Limulus amoebocyte lysate (LAL) assays, with respect to the limits of endotoxin recovery in spiked batches and the detection of no pyrogenic contamination in commercial batches of 17DD-YFV. The data demonstrated the applicability of the MAT for 17DD-YFV pyrogen testing, and as an alternative method that can contribute to biological quality control studies.
Stefan Fennrich, Ulrike Hennig, Leila Toliashvili, Christian Schlensak, Hans Peter Wendel and Sandra Stoppelkamp
In the quality assurance of medical products, tests for sterility are essential. For parenteral pharmaceuticals, avoiding the presence of pyrogens is crucial. These fever-inducing substances (endotoxins and non-endotoxins) are not eliminated by standard sterilisation processes, and are biologically active once in the bloodstream, causing risks to human health, ranging from mild reactions (e.g. fever) to septic shock and death. Therefore, for injectable formulations, pyrogen testing is mandatory. Over the years, various pyrogen testing methods have been introduced, namely: in the 1940s, the rabbit pyrogen test, which is an in vivo test that measures the fever reaction as an endpoint; in the 1970s, the Limulus Amoebocyte Lysate (LAL) test, which is an in vitro test (with the haemolymph of the horseshoe crab) that specifically detects endotoxin; and in 2010, the Monocyte-Activation Test (MAT), which is a non-animal based in vitro pyrogen test that represents a full replacement of the rabbit test. Due to the ubiquity and biological significance of pyrogens, we are currently further developing the MAT so that it can be used for other applications. More specifically, our focus is on the detection of pyrogenic contamination on medical devices, as well as on the measurement of air quality. In addition, further improvements to permit the use of cryopreserved blood in the MAT, to overcome the limitations in the availability of freshly-drawn blood from human donors, are ongoing.