In a great show of support from veterinarians in the Helderberg region, WCBS has started collecting whole blood donations for the manufacture of rabies immunoglobulin (Rabigam®) by the National Bioproducts Institute (NBI). The project was initiated by this group of veterinarians who identified a shortage in Rabigam® production and approached WCBS to see how they could assist. To date, NBI has collected rabies hyperimmune plasma from South African National Blood Service (SANBS) donors only and never from the Western Cape.

Rabies hyperimmune plasma is collected from donors who receive regular rabies vaccinations due to occupational risk. These donors must meet the normal blood donation acceptance criteria and have a sufficiently high rabies antibody level (>5 IU/ml) to qualify for hyperimmune plasma donation. The products from donors who do not meet these levels are still used in the general blood supply. The antibody rich plasma from suitable donors is pooled and fractionated into Rabigam®.

Further reading:
Rhabdoviruses: Rabies Virus – Medical Microbiology – NCBI Bookshelf (

For more information about becoming a rabies hyperimmune plasma donor, contact Dr Caroline Hilton, Head – Medical Division (

For more information about Rabigam®, visit the NBI website (