Hollywood couple Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, who recovered from the coronavirus, are donating blood to research institutes to help with the vaccine development.
In an interview for the NPR podcast “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” Hanks said life after coronavirus has been inconclusive until he found out he and his wife carry antibodies in their blood.
“Well, a lot of the question is, ‘What now?’ You know? What do we do now? Is there something we can do? And, in fact, we just found out that we do carry the antibodies,” Hanks said. He added, “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.”
The first Hollywood stars to have the COVID-19, Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson shared their diagnosis on March 11. They had caught the virus in Australia, where he was filming Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic. After a few weeks of recovery and quarantine, they returned to their Los Angeles home.
Convalescent plasma therapy to treat the virus
People who’ve recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their blood that can attack the virus. The blood from the recovered patients is called convalescent plasma.
Convalescent plasma therapy is still experimental, but researchers hope it can help the patients boost their ability to fight the virus. It could also keep patients from becoming more ill and experiencing COVID complications.
Plasma therapy involves giving survivors’ antibody-rich blood to sick patients. The immune antibody in the patient’s blood will form a neutralizing antibody that neutralizes the virus. The practice of giving convalescent plasma to sick patients is also seen in the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.
As of now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved no drug for safe and effective COVID-19 treatment. If you’ve had COVID-19 and recovered from it, consider donating blood through the American Red Cross or your local donation center. Either can provide information about the donation process.