Tom Hanks Says His Blood Will Be Used to Develop Coronavirus Vaccine
His wife’s blood will also be used, who he said had far more severe symptoms than he did.
(TMU) — The blood of actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson will reportedly be used for the development of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. The couple was among the first high profile figures outside of China to test positive for the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19.
According to a statement published by a spokesperson for the Hanks family, the couple caught the virus in Australia where Hanks was in the middle of filming for Baz Luhrmann’s untitled Elvis Presley biopic in which Hanks is playing Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker.
Hanks revealed the news about his role in the development of a vaccine during a recent interview on the NPR podcast “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!.”
Hanks said, ”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? 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-ccine.”
Hanks also said that his wife Rita had far more severe symptoms than he did.
“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,” Hanks said, according to Insider.
The idea of using someone’s blood for the development of a vaccine may sound strange, but it is part of a study that the couple volunteered for after recovering from SARS-CoV-2 and coming out of quarantine. He said that the study was intended to find antibodies that would be useful for scientists who are currently working to develop a vaccine. Since they both carry antibodies for the virus, they donated their blood to be used in any way that could help.
However, this approach is not necessarily guaranteed to work, because we still don’t know much about immunity to this new coronavirus. In fact, scientists have never been able to develop an effective vaccine for any other coronavirus before.
Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently issued a statement saying that there was no evidence that catching SARS-CoV-2 or having its antibodies will contribute to future immunity.
Rachel Roper, a professor of immunology at East Carolina University who took part in efforts to develop a SARS vaccine, says that the process is more difficult and complicated than most people realize.
“People think, ‘Oh, if you make antibodies to it, it’s going to be protective. That’s not necessarily true. We were able to induce an immune response, but it wasn’t good enough to really protect against the disease,” Roper said of the SARS vaccines that she helped work on.
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By John Vibes | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com
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