'Plasmatic!' Tom Hanks shares picture of himself donating plasma to combat COVID-19
Tom Hanks is "plasmatic."
The "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" actor, 63, kept his spirits high while donating plasma at the University of California in Los Angeles to help fight against the coronavirus following his own recovery.
He documented his experience on Instagram Wednesday, sharing several photos of his left arm hooked up to a machine and a picture of the end result: Two bags full of plasma.
"Plasmatic on 3! 1,2,3 PLASMATIC!" he captioned the series of pictures.
In March, Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, were hospitalized in Queensland, Australia after being diagnosed with coronavirus, becoming the first major celebrities to test positive. Hanks told NPR in April that he hopes the plasma will be beneficial toward vaccine research.
"We just found out we carry the antibodies," Hanks said on NPR's "Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me!" podcast. "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.' "
Plasma from coronavirus survivors gives patients an immediate injection of virus-fighting antibodies so that they don't have to wait for their own immune systems to kick in. The use of plasma from survivors to treat those sick with the same illness goes back more than a century and has been used to stem outbreaks of poliomyelitis, measles, mumps and influenza.
Already more than 16,000 Americans with COVID-19 have been infused with plasma from recovered patients under the U.S. government's expanded use program, and early reports have found no major safety issues.
A very small preliminary study released late last week found that the death rate of those infused with survivor plasma was about half that of similar patients who did not receive the plasma.
This is not the first time Hanks has shared a photo of his donated plasma.
Last month, he shared an Instagram snapshot of a "bag of plasma." The extraction process is "as easy as taking a nap," he said, "after the paperwork," of course.
To date, doctors have no vaccine or universally accepted treatment to fight COVID-19, which has killed 350,000 people worldwide and 100,000 in the U.S.
Contributing: Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Let's give thanks to Tom Hanks: Watch his 10 essential feel-good roles