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 28 November 2022, the percentages of adults estimated to have antibodies at the 800 nanograms per millilitre (ng/ml) level were:

  • 80.6% in England

  • 79.7% in Wales

  • 78.3% in Northern Ireland

  • 79.6% in Scotland

The percentage of people in the UK estimated to have antibodies at or above the 800 ng/ml level increased among those aged 50 years and over since mid-October 2022, likely as a result of the autumn booster vaccine campaign.

See our more information page to read about antibody levels.

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Antibodies in adults

Antibody levels remained 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) or 800 ng/ml, by age group, UK countries, 7 December 2020 to 4 December 2022

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In the UK, the proportion of adults with antibodies at or above the 179 ng/ml level remains high. An estimated 97.4% of adults in England, 97.1% in Wales, 95.9% in Northern Ireland and 97.0% in Scotland had antibodies against COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) at or above the 179 ng/ml level in the week beginning 28 November 2022.

At or above the higher level of 800 ng/ml, an estimated 80.6% of adults in England, 79.7% in Wales, 78.3% in Northern Ireland and 79.6% in Scotland had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. Among those aged 50 years and over, antibodies at or above the 800 ng/ml level increased since mid-October 2022. This is likely a result of the autumn booster programme. You can see autumn booster uptake on our Vaccines page.

Our 179 ng/ml level reflects the percentage of adults likely to have a sufficiently strong antibody response to provide some protection from getting a new COVID-19 infection with the Delta variant. This level is unlikely to provide equivalent protection against the Omicron variant. There is not sufficient evidence available yet to determine the appropriate level for this. The 800 ng/ml level is the highest level at which we can produce a historical series back to December 2020 and enables enhanced monitoring of antibody waning.

An issue with antibody lab results from 10 January to 27 February 2022 primarily impacted 800 ng/ml estimates. This means estimates for 800 ng/ml or higher are not available for this period, and estimates at or above the 179 ng/ml level for February 2022 are subject to change.

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: 18 January 2023

Read more about this in our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, antibody data: UK bulletin

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The highest antibody levels were seen among those aged 50 years and over across the UK

Modelled percentage of the population with levels of antibodies across varying levels from less than 179 nanograms per millilitre (ng/ml) to 6,000 ng/ml and above, 2 May to 4 December 2022

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The percentages shown in this chart include antibody levels up to, but below the upper threshold stated. This chart shows the proportion of the adult population, by age and country, estimated to have antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in the following ranges:

  • less than 179 ng/ml (including those with low or no antibodies against SARS-CoV-2)

  • from 179 ng/ml to less than 800 ng/ml

  • from 800 ng/ml to less than 2,000 ng/ml

  • from 2,000 ng/ml to less than 4,000 ng/ml

  • from 4,000 ng/ml to less than 6,000 ng/ml

  • 6,000 ng/ml and above

These ranges are shown as a shaded area, with larger areas showing a greater proportion of people who have antibody levels within that range. Across the UK, antibodies from 800 ng/ml to less than 2,000 ng/ml were the most common level for younger age groups in the week beginning 28 November 2022. There was an increase in the proportion of those aged 50 years and over estimated to have antibodies in the 6,000 ng/ml and above range across most of the UK, likely reflecting recent booster vaccinations.

Our 179 ng/ml level reflects the percentage of adults likely to have a sufficiently strong antibody response to provide some protection from getting a new COVID-19 infection with the Delta variant. This level is unlikely to provide equivalent protection against the Omicron variant. There is not sufficient evidence available yet to determine the appropriate level for this.

The 800 ng/ml level is the highest level at which we can produce a historical series back to December 2020. Levels at 2,000 ng/ml, 4,000 ng/ml and 6,000 ng/ml were also recently introduced to identify higher concentrations of antibodies in the blood. These higher levels provide a more informative view of population antibody levels and give earlier indication of antibody levels waning.

Last updated: 18 January 2023

Read more about this in our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, antibody data: UK bulletin

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Antibodies in children

Antibody levels remained high at the 179ng/ml level among children aged 8 to 15 years across Great Britain

Modelled percentage of children with levels of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 at or above 179 nanograms per millilitre (ng/ml) or 800 ng/ml, by age group, Great Britain, 29 November 2021 to 4 December 2022

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The proportion of children estimated to have antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 at or above the 179 ng/ml level remained high for those aged 8 to 11 years (72.4%) and those aged 12 to 15 years (90.7%) in the week beginning 28 November 2022.

In the same week, an estimated 42.1% of children aged 8 to 11 years and 61.5% of children aged 12 to 15 years had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 at or above the higher level of 800 ng/ml.

Our 179 ng/ml level reflects the percentage of children likely to have a sufficiently strong antibody response to provide some protection from getting a new COVID-19 infection with the Delta variant. This level is unlikely to provide equivalent protection against the Omicron variant. There is not sufficient evidence available yet to determine the appropriate level for this. The 800 ng/ml level is the highest level at which we can produce a historical series back to November 2021.

Last updated: 18 January 2023

Read more about this in our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, antibody data: UK 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. Antibody data from CIS presented on our tool includes antibodies from both infections and vaccinations. 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.

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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