Topline: Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, George Stephanopolous and other public figures who have recovered from the coronavirus are donating blood plasma to aid in research and treatment efforts; the efficacy of antibody-rich plasma as treatment for coronavirus is unproven and under study.

  • Since recovering from COVID-19, Hanks and Wilson have donated plasma as part of a research effort to design a coronavirus vaccine and are waiting to hear back as to whether they can donate plasma to help struggling coronavirus patients, said Wilson on CBS This Morning.
  • Good Morning America anchor George Stephanopoulos, who announced he had coronavirus on April 13, tweeted on Tuesday morning that he has recovered from the disease and “signed up for a clinical trial to donate my blood plasma and expect to make the donation in the coming weeks.”

  • Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart has also recovered from COVID-19 and will be donating plasma to the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project, experimental treatment that utilizes infusions of COVID-19 antibody-rich blood to help severe patients recover from the disease. 
  • These donations come after celebrities were criticized in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic for easy access to testing and posts on social media of social distance in luxury, while many others cannot get tested and d0 not have comfortable domestic accommodations for stay-home measures. 

Key background: Though clinicians are studying the effectiveness of infusing severe COVID-19 patients with antibody-rich blood plasma from survivors, there is still no cure for coronavirus. In early April the FDA approved antibody treatment for COVID-19 patients on a compassionate use basis. Clinicians are looking for between 5,000 and 10,000 COVID-19 survivors to enroll in the convalescent plasma program in the coming weeks, the Mayo Clinic, which is running the program, told the Wall Street Journal

Tangent: Rita Wilson reported severe nausea as a side effect of taking chloroquine in her COVID-19 treatment. Chloroquine has been controversial—originally touted by President Trump as a treatment for COVID-19 without conclusive studies to verify such a statement. Now, Politico reports that Trump has scaled back acclaim for the anti-malarial drug as treatment for COVID-19. On Monday pharma giant Novartis won approval to begin phase III hydroxychloroquine FDA testing—the final trial phrase before the drug hits the market.

Further Reading: 

Hundreds Receive Plasma From Recovered Coronavirus Patients In National Study (Wall Street Journal)

Tom Hanks Interview (The National Defense Radio Show)

Tom Hanks: ‘I Laid Down In My Groovy Hospital Bed And Just Slept’ (Forbes)

George Stephanopoulos Has Signed Up for Clinical Trial to Donate Plasma After Coronavirus (People)

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