71-year-old man donates blood plasma after surviving COVID-19

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- If you've survived coronavirus and now test negative, your blood plasma could help save a life.

71-year-old Jose Abdelnoor and his wife, 67-year-old Evelyn Diaz did not think they stood a chance against the novel coronavirus.

Both are in the age range of thousands of patients who are considered at risk, not to mention they have underlying conditions

We kinda ticked all the boxes... Hypertension, so on and so forth," Diaz said.

The two fell ill last month after traveling out of state for a funeral. They experienced coughs, fever and weakness.

"At times, I was thinking that was it. I was gonna die," Abdelnoor recalled.

It was their UT Physicians cardiologist who walked them through their period of illness, offering support day-by-day through the phone.

"It really amazed me, but it really made a huge difference, because with this virus, a lot of it is psychological," Diaz said. "You have to feel like you're going to push through."

Now, they hope they can help others push through as well.

"For me, donating my plasma is sharing my life," Abdelnoor said.

Abdelnoor is now COVID-19 negative and has donated his plasma for an experimental program being led by physicians at UT Health. Doctors are hoping transfusion of that plasma to an infected COVID-19 patient could be life saving.

"This plasma is rich in antibodies that can fight the virus," one physician said.

Doctors and researchers are still working to figure out if the transfusion will work best on those who are gravely ill or those who are mildly ill. Patients at different stages are currently being tested

Doctors say the use of plasma brings a powerful new tool for fighting the infection, as there still isn't an available antiviral medication.

"I would go through the whole ordeal again, provided I could save a life," Abdelnoor said.

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