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Antibodies against coronavirus (COVID-19)


The presence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 suggests that a person has previously been infected with COVID-19 or vaccinated. In the week beginning 30 May 2022, the percentages of adults estimated to have antibodies above a 179 nanograms per millilitre (ng/ml) level are: 

  • 97.6% in England 

  • 97.4% in Wales 

  • 97.7% in Northern Ireland 

  • 97.2% in Scotland

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Antibodies

Antibody levels remained very high in adults across the UK

Modelled percentage of the adult population with levels of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 at or above 179 nanograms per millilitre (ng/ml), by age group, UK countries, 7 December 2020 to 5 June 2022

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In the UK, the proportion of adults with antibodies at or above the 179ng/ml level remains high. An estimated 97.6% of the adult population in England, 97.4% in Wales, 97.7% in Northern Ireland and 97.2% in Scotland had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in the most recent week (beginning 30 May 2022).

Improvements to our antibody modelling have led to some small changes in the estimates. However, recent trends have not been affected. An issue with antibody laboratory results from 28 January to 3 March 2022 means estimates over this period may change because some results are being reprocessed.

Antibody data for a higher level of 800 ng/ml up to 17 April 2022 can be found in our Coronavirus (COVID-19) antibody data for the UK dataset. These previous datasets are not comparable with estimates at or above the 179 ng/ml level here, because of the recent improvements to the modelling.

Testing negative means that an individual did not have enough antibodies to be detected in the test, not that they do not have any immune protection against the virus. Please read our Antibodies and Immunity blog for more information. See our more information page to read about antibody levels.

Last updated: 29/06/2022

Find out more in our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey: antibody dataset

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Antibody levels were high in children aged 12 to 15 across Great Britain

In Great Britain, the proportion of those aged 12 to 15 years with antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 at or above the 179ng/ml level remains high at 95.5% (week beginning 30 May 2022). Estimates for those aged 8 to 11 years in Great Britain have not been updated for the latest week as they are undergoing additional quality assurance.

Improvements to our antibody modelling have led to some small changes in the estimates. However, recent trends have not been affected. An issue with antibody laboratory results from 28 January to 3 March 2022 means estimates over this period may change because some results are being reprocessed.

Estimates for those aged under 16 years in Northern Ireland have not been updated as they are under development.

Testing negative means that an individual did not have enough antibodies to be detected in the test, not that they do not have any immune protection against the virus. Please read our Antibodies and Immunity blog for more information. See our more information page to read about antibody levels.

Last updated: 29/06/2022

Find out more in our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey: antibody dataset

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Antibody positivity remains high across data sources

Estimated percentage of adults testing positive for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, 7 December 2020 to 5 June 2022, England

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The proportion of people aged 16 years and over testing positive for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in England increased between December 2020 and June 2022. The Coronavirus Infection Survey (CIS), UK Health Security Agency data from NHS Blood and Transplant (NHS-BT) blood donors, and Real-time Assessment of Community Transmission-2 (REACT-2) show similar trends in antibody positivity.

NHS-BT results are higher because of differences between sources in the antibody concentration threshold for a positive test. This chart presents CIS estimates using an antibody level of 179 ng/ml, which will show any changes in antibody levels earlier. For details see the antibodies section on our More information on data sources related to COVID-19 page.

Last updated: 29/06/2022

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Antibodies in school pupils

An estimated 99.3% of secondary school pupils and 82.0% of primary school pupils, in England, had antibodies against COVID-19 in March 2022 (Round 3). This is significantly higher than in January to February 2022 (Round 2) for both secondary (96.6%) and primary (62.4%) school pupils. Antibody levels in Round 2 were significantly higher than those in Round 1 (November to December 2021) for both secondary (82.4%) and primary (40.1%) school pupils.

The proportion of pupils testing positive for antibodies steadily increased by age. Over three-quarters of pupils aged 4 to 7 years (78%), around 9 in 10 pupils aged 8 to 11 years (89.5%) and nearly all secondary school-aged pupils (12 to 15 years) tested positive for antibodies.

Antibody testing in Round 3 took place while COVID-19 cases in England were increasing, especially among school aged children, because of the Omicron variant. The increase between Round 2 and Round 3 is likely to be driven by both natural infection and the continuing vaccination programme.

Last updated: 27/06/2022

Read more about this in our COVID-19 Schools Infection Survey, England: Pupil antibody data, March 2022 bulletin

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In March 2022, in England, more than 99% of secondary school pupils had antibodies to COVID-19. Of those, nearly three-quarters (73%) were vaccinated and just over one-quarter (27%) were unvaccinated. Of the 82.0% of primary school pupils who tested positive for antibodies, almost all (99.4%) were unvaccinated. You can read more about vaccinations in young people on our Vaccines page.

Last updated: 27/06/2022

Read more about this in our COVID-19 Schools Infection Survey, England: Pupil antibody data, March 2022 bulletin

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Further information


The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey (CIS) estimates antibody positivity based on blood test results taken from a randomly selected subsample of individuals aged 16 years and over in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. The REACT-2 study tests randomly selected participants aged 18 years and over from the NHS patient list in England, who self-administer a lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA) finger prick test to detect antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. The UK Health Security Agency publishes antibody positivity based on testing samples from healthy adult blood donors aged 17 years and older, supplied by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHS BT) as part of the UKHSA sero-surveillance programme. Antibody data from CIS, REACT-2 and UKHSA, that is presented on our tool includes antibodies from both infections and vaccinations.

The Coronavirus Schools Infection Survey estimates the percentage of staff and pupils with antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. Staff are tested from blood and pupils from oral-fluid samples using assays that detect antibodies from a previous infection, but not from vaccination.

To find out more about antibody data from different sources visit our more information page.

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Latest insights team
infection.survey.analysis@ons.gov.uk