Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are donating their blood to create a potential coronavirus vaccine
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were among the first public figures to test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) in early March. As each has fully recovered from the virus, Hanks told NPR that he and Wilson are donating their blood to hopefully develop a vaccine.
On the April 18th episode of NPR’s “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me” podcast, Hanks said that he and Wilson “just found out” that they do carry the antibodies to COVID-19. He said they have “been approached” by researchers about harvesting their blood for research.
“We have not only been approached; we have said, do you want our blood? Can we give plasma? And, in fact, we will be giving it now to the places that hope to work on what I would like to call the ‘Hank-ccine,’” Hanks said.
Hanks and Wilson were diagnosed with coronavirus while in Australia, where Hanks was filming Baz Luhrmann’s forthcoming Elvis Presley biopic. (Needless to say, that project has been put on hold for the time being.) Hanks announced their diagnoses in an Instagram post on March 11th.
“We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches. Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too,” he wrote in the captin. The couple self-isolated in Australia for two weeks before returning to the U.S.
Hanks also told NPR that he and Wilson “had all of the flu-like symptoms,” but Wilson “was a little worse off than me.” Luckily, he said, now both “are just fine, dandy.”
By donating their blood, Hanks and Wilson would be joining the ranks of volunteers around the world hoping to contribute to research into developing a coronavirus vaccine—which, according to the BBC, is occurring “at breakneck speed” as scientists are hoping to achieve what would normally take years in mere months. As of now, the BBC reports that “most experts think a vaccine is likely to become available by mid-2021.”
Could Hanks’ antibodies be the missing link? Probably not, but we can dream, right? As NPR host Peter Sagal said, “There could be no better ending to this international catastrophe than if the cure turns out to be the blood of Tom Hanks.”
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