What is a COVID-19 antibody test and why are you asking me to take one?

Antibodies are made by the immune system to fight infection. A COVID-19 antibody blood test will identify whether you may have had COVID-19. We will use the result of the test to help us better understand how many Next Steps participants may have been infected with the virus which causes COVID-19, whether they realised it at the time or not.

Even if you don’t think you have had COVID-19, please complete the test as it is possible to have had the virus without realising it. It is also important for researchers to collect information on those who do not have antibodies as well those who do. Even if you have had the COVID-19 vaccine, we would like you to take part.

We don’t know yet if having antibodies gives someone long-lasting protection from the virus. The results of this study may be able to help guide public health policy and the government’s plan for its antibody testing strategy.

Other research studies in the UK are also asking their participants to complete the same antibody test. Analysing the information from Next Steps, alongside these other studies, will give us a better understanding of how many people may have been infected with COVID-19 and why some people develop severe disease.