A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a particular disease.

Vaccines are derived from a variety of sources including tissue extracts, bacterial cells, virus particles, recombinant mammalian, yeast and insect cell produced proteins and nucleic acids. The most common method of vaccine production is based on an initial fermentation process followed by purification.

Production of vaccines is a complex process involving many different steps and processes. Selection of the appropriate purification method is critical to achieving desired purity of the final product. Clarification of vaccines is a critical step that strongly impacts product recovery and subsequent downstream purification.

There are several technologies that can be applied for vaccine clarification. Selection of a harvesting method and equipment depends on the type of cells, product being harvested, and properties of the process fluids. These techniques include membrane filtration (microfiltration, tangential-flow filtration), centrifugation, and depth filtration (normal flow filtration). Historically vaccine harvest clarification was usually achieved by centrifugation followed by depth filtration.

Recently membrane based technologies have gained prominence in vaccine clarification. The increasing use of single-use technologies in upstream processes necessitated a shift in harvest strategies.