Hyperimmune immunoglobulin (Ig) products are fractionated blood products containing a concentrated mix of specific antibodies. They're made from pooled human plasma from donors with high concentrations of these antibodies. Clinicians use hyperimmune Ig products to reduce the risk or severity of infection and offer immediate short-term protection against specific diseases and infections.

Hyperimmune immunoglobulin products are life-saving therapies, but they're expensive to produce. It's important we use our limited supply appropriately and efficiently.

In Australia, there are 6 types of government-funded hyperimmune Ig products available under the national blood arrangements.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) immunoglobulin

CMV immunoglobulin can prevent CMV infection in people who've had bone marrow, kidney, heart or liver transplants. It's used when the transplant recipient is negative for CMV antibodies but the donor is positive.

CMV immunoglobulin can also be used to treat patients with established CMV infections, such as CMV pneumonitis and renal parenchymal infection.

CMV immunoglobulin is only given intravenously.

Hepatitis B immunoglobulin

Hepatitis B immunoglobulin may help to prevent hepatitis B infection in people who have been exposed to the virus but who aren't fully vaccinated or whose antibody levels are too low.

It can also help protect newborn babies from getting hepatitis B if their mother has the virus.

Hepatitis B immunoglobulin is given by injection into a muscle.

Rh D immunoglobulin

Rh D immunoglobulin (also known as anti-D immunoglobulin) can protect babies from haemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN). If not prevented, HDN may occur when an Rh D negative person is pregnant with an Rh D positive baby.

To reduce risks, pregnant people who are Rh D negative should be treated during pregnancy. They should also be treated after birth if the baby is confirmed as Rh D positive.

Rh D immunoglobulin is usually given by injection into a muscle. An intravenous product is available if the intramuscular format is contraindicated or not practical, such as if there's a large foetomaternal haemorrhage. Clinicians can also use the intravenous product to transfuse Rh D negative people who have been exposed to Rh D positive blood products and who could become pregnant.

Guideline for the prophylactic use of Rh D immunoglobulin in pregnancy care

The Guideline for the prophylactic use of Rh D immunoglobulin in pregnancy care provides clinical guidance on the prophylactic use of Rh D immunoglobulin in pregnancy care for healthcare professionals involved in the management of pregnant Rh D negative women.

Tetanus immunoglobulin

Tetanus immunoglobulin can protect people with tetanus-prone wounds from developing an infection, or can be used to treat someone who already has a tetanus infection.

Tetanus immunoglobulin can be especially helpful if a wounded person isn't vaccinated or their vaccination status is unknown. It can also be used for people whose last tetanus vaccination was more than 10 years ago.

Tetanus immunoglobulin is usually given by injection into a muscle. It can also be given intravenously when treating a person with an existing tetanus infection.

Zoster immunoglobulin

Zoster immunoglobulin can protect people from chickenpox and shingles, which are caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It's specifically used for people who have neoplastic diseases (such as leukaemia or lymphoma) or weakened immune systems either from birth, acquired immunodeficiency, or from undergoing immunosuppressive therapy.

It can also protect people who have been exposed to chickenpox or shingles and who have never had chickenpox or don't know if they've had it.

Zoster immunoglobulin is usually given by injection into a muscle.

Normal human immunoglobulin

Normal human immunoglobulin (NHIg) is a fractionated blood product containing a concentrated mix of antibodies. NHIg is sometimes called intramuscular immunoglobulin as it's usually administered into a muscle.

NHIg is used to prevent hepatitis A, measles and poliomyelitis in people who are susceptible to these diseases. It's also used to treat immunodeficiency conditions when intravenous immunoglobulin and subcutaneous immunoglobulin can't be used.

Accessing hyperimmune Ig products

Order via BloodNet

Health professionals use BloodNet to order hyperimmune Ig products directly. You don't need to seek authorisation via BloodSTAR first, unless the product is NHIg to be used for immunodeficiency conditions.

BloodNet is Australia's online blood ordering and inventory management system. You can order blood and blood products 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with BloodNet.

To use BloodSTAR or BloodNet, you need to log in via our BloodPortal(Opens in a new tab/window). If you're a new user, you can register for a BloodPortal account.

Australian Red Cross Lifeblood distributes government-funded hyperimmune Ig products.

Get in touch

For more information about accessing government-funded hyperimmune Ig products, contact us.

Phone: 1300 025 663 (13 000 BLOOD)

Email: Supply.Management.Plasma@blood.gov.au

Last updated: 27 Mar 2024

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