Some mornings you wake up, peruse the news stories of the day, and see one that makes you think, “Well, that’s a bit on the nose, isn’t it?” Other days you log in only to find that Tom Hanks’ blood is being researched as a mystical elixir with the power to save the world, and then you log right the fuck back out, convinced that whichever Great Screenwriter controls all our lives has now well and truly run itself the fuck out of good ideas.
But, no, really: This is per an article in Singapore’s Today newspaper today—which seems to be mostly scraped from a Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! interview Hanks gave on NPR last week—in which it is strongly suggested that Tom Hanks’ Christ-like blood might be the key to saving us all. Specifically, Hanks and wife Rita Wilson have both enrolled in studies to see if their blood contains antibodies for coronavirus, with an eye toward using said Sacred Liquid in the development of vaccines for the global pandemic. Both Hanks and Wilson have now recovered from their own bouts with the disease, happily, and, per the Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood actor, both have been found to possess the antibodies. (Hanks even made a little Tom Hanks-style joke about calling a prospective preventative measure based on his precious vitae the “Hank-ccine.”)
As usual, though, the feel-good nature of Tom Hanks-based news does seem a little less feel-good-y in the face of cold, hard scientific facts. (Or as Hanx himself would probably style them, “faxt.”) The unfortunate truth is that we still know very little about the coronavirus—including, critically, whether antibodies provide any kind of immunity to catching COVID-19 a second time. (The WHO just issued a statement today re-emphasizing this point, warning that previous infection isn’t necessarily a bar to getting sick again.) So as much as we might enjoy the narrative of America’s Gump-Daddy curing the ills of the world through the power of pop culture communion, it’s still woefully unclear whether exsanguinating the star of Saving Private Ryan will even have a real medical benefit at all, no matter how nice it might all make us feel.