There isn’t a vaccine or an approved treatment for COVID-19 as of yet. But Tom Hanks may play a role in developing one for the future.
In a recent interview appearance on NPR’s “Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me,” the Oscar-winning actor talked about his and wife Rita Wilson’s recent experiences after testing positive for COVID-19 in March.
Responding to a tongue-in-cheek question on whether they were immune or even “superheroes,” Hanks responded by saying:
“Well, a lot of the question is what now, you know? 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.
Hanks would later state in the interview that he and his wife will be giving their blood plasma now to researchers “to work on what I would like to call the Hank-ccine.”
“There could be no better ending to this international catastrophe than if the cure turns out to be the blood of Tom Hanks,” host Peter Sagal said in the interview.
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The idea of Hanks’ blood helping to treat COVID-19 patients may seem humorous and a bit far-fetched, but it’s actually rooted in science.
The American Red Cross and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently asking for individuals who have fully recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma to help treat current patients. This is because people who have recovered from the virus have antibodies in their blood that can benefit the health of those currently infected.
There have been reports regarding the potential benefits of other antiviral drugs, including remdesivir, in treating COVID-19 patients. While one study indicated that remdesivir had been beneficial in treating monkeys infected with COVID-19, there still remains uncertainty on the drug’s benefit for human patients.
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President Donald Trump had previously touted the benefits of the drugs chloqoruine and hydroxycholorquine in treating COVID-19, but the FDA cautioned last week against their usage outside of the hospital setting.
There is still no approved drug, treatment or vaccine for COVID-19. As of April 27, more than 3 million people across the world were reported to have tested positive for the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins.