An antibody test is a blood test to check if you've had coronavirus (COVID-19) before. This test is not widely available yet.
An antibody test is different to the test to check if you have coronavirus now.
What an antibody test can tell you
An antibody test can tell you if it's likely you've had coronavirus before.
But it does not work for everyone, as some people who've had the virus do not have antibodies.
An antibody test does not tell you:
- if you're immune to coronavirus
- if you can or cannot spread the virus to other people
If you've had coronavirus, you still need to follow the same social distancing advice as everyone else.
Getting an antibody test
Antibody tests are not widely available yet.
Free antibody tests are currently only available for certain people in England and Wales who work in social care.
These tests are to help the NHS and scientists learn more about who has already had the virus and how it has spread in the UK.
If you're unable to get a free antibody test, you can pay to have a test at a private clinic if you want to.
How an antibody test works
An antibody test checks for antibodies in your blood.
Your body makes antibodies when you get an infection. They help fight the infection.
If you have coronavirus antibodies in your blood, it's likely you've had the virus before.
It's not known if having antibodies stops you getting the virus again.
Help with research into coronavirus treatments
If you've had coronavirus, you can donate blood plasma to help researchers find treatments.