El Paso couple who recovered from COVID-19 shares story, urges other recovered patients to donate plasma


After taking an antibody test and learning it came out positive for COVID-19, Patty and Alan Russell went to Vitalant to donate their plasma.

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — As the number of COVID-19 cases have continued to rise in the Borderland, so have the number of recoveries. One El Paso couple who has recovered from the virus is urging other recovered patients to consider donating plasma.

After taking an antibody test and learning it came out positive for COVID-19, Patty and Alan Russell went to Vitalant in West El Paso to donate their plasma.

“As soon as the antibody test came out, Alan and I both, It was a natural thought to us that if we ever got it or have had the antibodies we absolutely need to find out how we can donate plasma,” Patty Russell shared.

Patty said while on a trip to Florida, she was originally diagnosed with the flu, and her husband Alan later caught what she had. However, after taking COVID-19 antibody tests, the couple realized it was more than the flu. The tests came back positive, and that’s when they said they went looking for help.

“We called the Texas Tech Health Science Center, the medical school, and engaged them on the fact that we had tested positive and we wanted to donate plasma and they went into action immediately,” Alan Russell told KTSM.

According to researchers with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center of El Paso, the plasma can help people still fighting the infection because the donor’s antibodies are specific to the new virus.

As for what that process was like for the Russell’s, “It’s easy and as we understand, one donation of plasma can help up to four people,” Patty explained, “So you know we just feel like it’s a no brainer that if you’ve had it and you test positive for the antibodies it’s what we all need to do.”​

Based off their experience, the Russell’s said it’s important for other recovered COVID-19 patients to consider donating plasma in efforts to help save the lives of those who are infected.

“If everybody in El Paso county for instance donated plasma that has recovered, there would be enough plasma to treat every live case that we have in the county now,” Alan shared, “So we really encourage people to, if you recovered get out and donate your plasma and help others because it could save a life or two or three.”

To be eligible to donate plasma, you must meeting the following criteria: have a prior diagnosis of COVID-19, current negative results for the virus, and show no symptoms two weeks before donating.

For more information on recovered COVID-19 patients donating plasma, click here.

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