Medical researchers have asked for blood donations from patients who have recovered from the deadly disease in order to find a cure or vaccine.
Scientists have been looking towards those who have recovered from the novel Coronavirus in order to find a cure or vaccine for the deadly disease. On NPR's podcast 'Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!' last week, actor Tom Hanks revealed he was one of the many patients to donate his blood for research purposes, Variety Magazine reports. There is currently no hard evidence to suggest that antibodies from blood and plasma could be the answer for a cure, but scientists are hopeful. So if they discover a cure or vaccine for the illness, we can definitely thank Hanks for his kind donation.
Hanks and his wife, singer and actress Rita Wilson, both tested positive in early March while filming for Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic in Australia. Thankfully, they had a speedy recovery and are now resting up at their Los Angeles home. The Forrest Gump actor was, therefore, looking for a way to help. "A lot of the questions [are] what do we do now? Is there something we can do?" He stated on the NPR podcast. "And, in fact, 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?'"
At a time when we have seen some of the lowest points of humanity, it is heartening to know that there are still people out there - even celebrities - who believe in the public good. Hanks continued, explaining that he had even come up with a name if they engineer a vaccine as a result of his blood donation. He said, "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.'" That's the trademark Hanks humor we need during this challenging period of time. In addition to Hanks, hundreds of patients in the United States who have recovered from the disease have come forward to donate their blood and plasma.
In collaboration with the United States Food and Drug Administration, the American Red Cross is calling on recovered patients to donate plasma to come to the aid of current patients. In a statement published to the non-profit's website, they explained, "People who have fully recovered from [the disease] have antibodies in their plasma that can attack the virus. This convalescent plasma is being evaluated as a treatment for patients with serious or immediately life-threatening infections, or those judged by a healthcare provider to be at high risk of progression to severe or life-threatening disease." If you or someone you know would like to make a donation, you can visit the American Red Cross website.
In the meantime, Hanks reassured listeners that both he and Wilson were doing "just fine" and "dandy." He shared that his wife's case was far more serious than his. The Saving Private Ryan star stated, "Rita went through a tougher time than I did. She had a much higher fever. She had lost her sense of taste and sense of smell. She got absolutely no joy from food for a better part of three weeks." However, she has fully recovered and is in good spirits, as is her husband. Hopefully, their blood and plasma donations - along with the donations from hundreds of other patients - will be put to good use in the near future.