Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson were among the first people in the world to announce that they had tested positive for COVID-19, and now it appears that their blood will be used in the quest for a coronavirus vaccine.
After the couple was released from quarantine, they enrolled in a medical study to determine if their antibodies would be useful for scientists who are currently working to develop a vaccine. As a part of the study, the pair have been approved to donate blood because they carry antibodies for the virus.
In an interview with NPR, Hanks said,’‘We just found out that we do carry the antibodies. 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 couple reportedly caught the virus in Australia where Hanks was in the middle of filming for Baz Luhrmann’s untitled Elvis Presley biopic in which Hanks is playing Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker.
Hanks said that he and his wife both had entirely different experiences from the illness, despite catching it at the same time, and being the same age. Rita Wilson suffered far more serious symptoms, while Hanks only experienced mild symptoms. The effects of COVID-19 have been extremely random, and how sick a person gets can be dependant on a variety of factors, including blood type.
The road towards a COVID-19 vaccine will not be easy, as a successful coronavirus vaccine has never been developed. Furthermore, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently issued a statement saying that there was no evidence that catching the coronavirus, or having its antibodies will contribute to future immunity. It has also been reported that people who have recovered from COVID-19 sometimes show a re-emergence of symptoms, and possible cases of reinfection.