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South African Institute for Medical Research

Nature volume 155, page 88 (20 January 1945) | Download Citation



THE annual report for 1943 of the South African Institute for Medical Research, Johannesburg, is a record of valuable war and other work. The work of the South African Medical Corps Establishment is directed from the Institute and is organized into eight sections. Their work includes the supply and administration of the seven large and fifteen small laboratories situated at military hospitals all over the Union and the two mobile laboratories based on the Institute; training of personnel in tropical medicine and laboratory work, which has been extended to naval medical officers; a military blood transfusion service, which has developed considerably; the supply of glucose saline and other fluids for intravenous use; a snake-catching unit, which caught an average of 50–75 cobras and puff-adders a month to provide venom for the manufacture of antivenene by the Institute (a larger and more permanent snake farm at Barberton is being planned and a valuable agreement has been made with the director of the Pasteur Institute, Brazzaville, French Equatorial Africa; for the supply of venoms from equatorial snakes); and a unit for catching gerbils for the use of the typhus-vaccine department, which catches about 1,000 gerbils a month. Assays of vitaminized foodstuffs have been done by the biochemical department for the Director of Supplies, the Red Cross Prisoner-of-War Parcels Section, and other authorities. The Institute is at present the only laboratory in South Africa able to undertake the assay of vitamins in foods. An important part of the war effort has been the continued production of typhus and yellow fever vaccines and other curative and protective sera for military use, and also the building up of a reserve of anti-gas-gangrene serum.

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