Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson Donate Blood to Help Develop Coronavirus Vaccine

During the earliest days of the coronavirus pandemic, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were two of the most well-known celebrities to be diagnosed with COVID-19. Now, the actors are stepping up to the plate as they've committed to donating blood and plasma in an attempt to help medical professionals develop a vaccine that can combat the novel coronavirus. During a recent call-in with NPR's Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!, Hanks revealed he and his wife have been doing whatever they can to make sure a vaccine is found.

"A lot of the questions are what do we do now?" Hanks said on the weekly radio show. "Is there something we can do? And, in fact, we just found out that we do carry the antibodies," he said. "We have not only been approached, we have said, 'Do you want our blood? Can we give plasma?'"

Hanks and Wilson are on the set of Baz Luhrmann's untitled Elvis biopic when they both came down with symptoms of a COVID-19 infection. Shortly thereafter, the Australia-based production shutdown as both actors were quarantined in an Australian hospital for two full weeks. The duo has since returned home, where they currently remain isolated.

Fully recovered, Hanks served as the surprise guest hosts for Saturday Night Live's first-ever remotely produced episode earlier this month, introducing the cast from the comfort of his kitchen. The Oscar-winning actor has since become the face of those battling the pandemic, even going the length to write a letter to a boy who's been bullied because his name is Corona.

"Your letter made my wife and I feel so wonderful! Thank you for being such a good friend - friends make their friends feel good when they are down," Hanks heartwarming letter reads. "I saw you on TV, even though I was back in the USA already - and all healthy. Even though I was no longer sick, getting your letter made me feel even better. You know, you are the only person I've ever known to have the name Corona – like the ring around the sun, a crown. I thought this typewriter would suit you. I had taken it to the Gold Coast, and now, it is back - with you. Ask a grown up how it works. And use it to write me back."


Cover photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images