Current quality control of inactivated animal vaccines still focuses on the potency of final products in a batch-wise manner. Animal welfare concerns as well as scientific considerations have led to the '3Rs-concept' that comprises the refinement of animal procedures, the reduction of animal numbers, and the replacement of animal models. Although the 3Rs-concept has been widely accepted as a fundamental principle, the number of approved alternatives for in vivo tests is still limited. To promote further progress, the international scientific workshop 'Potency Testing of Veterinary Vaccines: The Way from in vivo to in vitro' was held at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut in Langen, Germany, on 01-03 December 2010. More than 130 participants from industry, academia and regulatory authorities discussed the current state of the 3Rs-concept, examples of its successful implementation as well as still existing hurdles. Special emphasis was laid on the 'consistency approach' that aims to ensure relevant quality attributes of vaccine batches by in vitro analyses during production rather than by in vivo potency tests on the final product. This report provides an overview of the insights gained, including the recommendations produced at the end of the workshop.
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