Among the first American celebrities to contract the virus, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson’s coronavirus story from diagnosis to recovery has been a highly publicized journey providing comfort and hope to people all around the world.
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Hello folks. @ritawilson and I want to thank everyone here Down Under who are taking such good care of us. We have Covid-19 and are in isolation so we do not spread it to anyone else. There are those for whom it could lead to a very serious illness. We are taking it one-day-at-a-time. There are things we can all do to get through this by following the advice of experts and taking care of ourselves and each other, no? Remember, despite all the current events, there is no crying in baseball. Hanx
And although the couple is virus free and safe at home in Los Angeles after returning from Australia where they tested positive for COVID-19, there’s more: Hanks announced that he and his wife have volunteered to donate blood to coronavirus researchers in search of a cure.
“We will be giving it now to the places that hope to work on what I would like to call the ‘Hank-ccine,'” Hanks joked last week when he revealed the plan on NPR’s ‘Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!’.
Hanks and Wilson were approached as subjects for studies after learning they both carry coronavirus antibodies.
“A lot of the questions [are] 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. “We have not only been approached, we have said, ‘Do you want our blood? Can we give plasma?’”
Researchers are experimenting with techniques to give sick patients anti-bodies containing blood from recovered patients in order to fight the virus.
During both the 1918 Influenza pandemic and the 2003 SARS outbreak, this type of therapy was used.
Dr. Arturo Casadevall, chair of the Molecular Microbiology and Immunology Department at Johns Hopkins told ‘CBS This Morning’ plasma therapy is a promising idea that has proven effective in the past.
One plasma donation can potentially treat up to three infected patients.
“We need to do the clinical trials to know when, if and how to use it,” said Casadevall, who has been studying antibodies for over three decades.
Although there are currently several human trials of a vaccine in process, including one from the University of Oxford in the UK that began last week, most experts still predict it will take 12 to 18 months for a vaccine to be cleared for public use.
Back on NPR, Hanks discussed his experience with the virus and life post-corona.
“We had all of the flu-like symptoms. My wife, Rita, was a little worse off than me. She had a very high temperature. And we were isolated so that we would not give it to anyone else.”
Hanks had previously shared that Wilson was unable to taste or smell while she was sick, and “was so nauseous, she had to crawl on the floor from the bed to the facilities.”
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Hello, folks. @ritawilson and I are down here in Australia. We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches. Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too. To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the Coronavirus, and were found to be positive. Well, now. What to do next? The Medical Officials have protocols that must be followed. We Hanks’ will be tested, observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires. Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no? We’ll keep the world posted and updated. Take care of yourselves! Hanx!
Hanks told NPR that, now, “We are just fine, dandy.”
When he’s not volunteering to donate blood in order to participate in potentially life-saving research, the actor and “nicest guy in Hollywood” has been playing a lot of solitaire and “Marie Kondo-izing” his life to pass time in lockdown.
Peter Sagal, host of ‘Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me’ told Hanks, “There could be no better ending to this international catastrophe than if the cure turns out to be the blood of Tom Hanks.”
Who could argue with that?