During an appearance on NPR's Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! last week, the 63-year-old actor revealed he and his wife, Rita Wilson, volunteered to donate their blood for COVID-19 vaccine development. Hanks and Wilson were some of the first celebrities to announce they had tested positive for the novel virus while working in Australia back in March. The couple returned to the states weeks after their diagnoses and have since recovered.
"A lot of the questions [are] what do we do now? Is there something we can do?" Hanks said on the Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! 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?' 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.'"
Hanks, who reassured listeners he and Wilson are doing "just fine," previously revealed that his coronavirus symptoms were less severe than his wife's.
"Rita went through a tougher time than I did," he told The National Defense Radio Show last Sunday. "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."
Wilson, 63, opened up about her experience and her potential coronavirus immunity during an appearance on CBS This Morning earlier this month.
"Well, that’s what they told us and that’s what the belief is," she said when asked if they were now immune to the virus. "We recently have been part of a study where we’ve donated our blood, and we’re waiting to hear back if our antibodies will be helpful in developing a vaccine, but also if we are able to donate plasma that can be used as donation to other people who are suffering from the virus because we are immune."
Medical experts say there is no evidence that people who develop antibodies after recovering from COVID-19 are immune to the virus.
"Some governments have suggested that the detection of antibodies … could serve as the basis for an ‘immunity passport’ or ‘risk-free certificate,'" the World Health Organization said in a statement this week. "There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection."