An understanding of the principles of degradation, as well as the statistical tools for measuring product stability, is essential to management of product quality. Key to this is management of vaccine potency. Vaccine shelf life is best managed through determination of a minimum potency release requirement, which helps assure adequate potency throughout expiry. Use of statistical tools such a least squares regression analysis should be employed to model potency decay. The use of such tools provides incentive to properly design vaccine stability studies, while holding stability measurements to specification presents a disincentive for collecting valuable data. The laws of kinetics such as Arrhenius behavior help practitioners design effective accelerated stability programs, which can be utilized to manage stability after a process change. Design of stability studies should be carefully considered, with an eye to minimizing the variability of the stability parameter. In the case of measuring the degradation rate, testing at the beginning and the end of the study improves the precision of this estimate. Additional design considerations such as bracketing and matrixing improve the efficiency of stability evaluation of vaccines. © 2009 The International Association for Biologicals.
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