Nine in 10 Brits likely to have Covid-19 antibodies, ONS says

21 July 2021, 13:30

Nine in 10 people in the UK are likely to have Covid-19 antibodies, figures have shown.
Nine in 10 people in the UK are likely to have Covid-19 antibodies, figures have shown. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Nine in 10 people across the UK are likely to have Covid-19 antibodies, Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures suggest.

The presence of antibodies shows somebody has either been infected with the virus in the past or vaccinated against it, and the number of people to test positive for them has been seen to continue increasing across the regions.

Estimates from the ONS ranged from 88.6 per cent in Scotland to 92.6 per cent in Wales, with 90.0 per cent for Northern Ireland and 91.9 per cent for England.

All of the nations showed signs of levelling off in the most recent weeks.

It usually takes between two and three weeks after either being infected or receiving the vaccine for the body to develop enough antibodies to be able to fight off the virus.

Afterwards, they remain in the blood at low levels and gradually decline over time to the point that they can no longer be detected.

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The ONS figures were based on a sample of blood test results for the week beginning 28 June, but the estimates only accounted for people in private households and not hospitals or care homes.

There was a clear pattern between vaccination and testing positive for antibodies, however, "the detection of antibodies alone is not a precise measure of the immunity protection given by vaccination", the ONS said.

The amount of time antibodies remain at detectable levels in the blood is still unknown.

It is not known how having antibodies - currently or in the past - affects the chances of getting Covid again either.