Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson’s Blood Will Be Used to Help Develop Coronavirus Vaccine

Hanks and Wilson, who've now recovered, announced on March 11 they'd tested positive for the coronavirus while in Australia.
Tom Hanks, left, and Rita Wilson arrive at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The couple have tested positive for the coronavirus, the actor said in a statement Wednesday, March 11. The 63-year-old actor said they will be "tested, observed and isolated for as long as public health and safety requiresVirus Outbreak Tom Hanks, Los Angeles, United States - 09 Feb 2020
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

After recovering from COVID-19, actors Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have donated their blood for coronavirus vaccine research, according to an interview with Hanks in a new episode of NPR’s “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” podcast via MSN.

“A lot of the question is, what now? What do we do now? Is there something we can do? And, in fact, we just found out that we do carry the antibodies,” said Hanks, who announced, along with his wife Wilson, that he’d tested positive for the coronavirus in March while in Australia shooting Baz Luhrmann’s untitled Elvis Presley biopic. After returning to the United States, Hanks and Wilson participated in a medical study to see if their antibodies would be helpful to scientists working on the vaccine.

“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-cine,’” the actor said.

Hanks also said that his wife Wilson’s experience with COVID-19 was far worse than his. “Rita went through a tougher time than I did. She had a much higher fever and she had some other symptoms. She lost her sense of taste and smell. She got absolutely no joy from food for a better part of three weeks. She was so nauseous, she had to crawl on the floor from the bed to the facilities. It lasted a while,” he said.

Last week, Baz Luhrmann also spoke to Deadline about the climate on the set of his Elvis film when Hanks and Wilson made the announcement, seemingly changing America’s perspective on the coronavirus and making it suddenly feel very real.

“If there was anything good about it, the very best thing that came out of it was when someone like Tom Hanks got it, I noticed that globally and particularly in America — and we live in New York — suddenly everyone went, this is real. He became an advertisement for it,” Luhrmann said.

“I was in my house and we were locked down entirely. A team turned up in hazmat suits and we were tested. We wouldn’t have been immediately infectious — you have to see if you have symptoms — but poor Tom and Rita, they were in the hospital and we were locked down in quarantine.”

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