COVID-19 antibody test data from CLS studies now available

News, Data release
26 July 2021

Researchers can now access new information on the presence of COVID-19 antibodies among more than 10,000 study members taking part in the four cohort studies run by the UCL Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS).

Used in combination with the self-reported information collected in the three waves of the COVID-19 Survey in Five National Longitudinal Studies, these COVID-19 antibody test data will help researchers to accurately estimate the prevalence of coronavirus among four generations.

In March 2021, study participants who had taken part in any of the three CLS COVID-19 surveys conducted since May 2020 were asked to provide a finger-prick blood sample to be analysed for COVID-19 antibodies. Those who agreed were sent a blood sample collection kit and asked to post back the sample to a laboratory for analysis. Two antibody tests were conducted which will help to distinguish between those who had COVID-19 antibodies due to exposure to the virus and those who had antibodies resulting from vaccination.

Professor Alissa Goodman said: “Over the past year, our study participants have gone above and beyond to share their insights about how the coronavirus crisis has affected their livelihoods, their families and relationships, and their physical and mental health.

“Since May 2020, they have told us whether they had been diagnosed with COVID-19, or had experienced symptoms. Now, with these new objective antibody test data researchers will be able to gain a more accurate picture of coronavirus infection rates among four generations of people across the UK aged between 20 and 63.”

“Longitudinal studies are uniquely placed to understand how previous circumstances impact on participants’ later outcomes. As we continue to follow them into the future, we can monitor the long-term impact of exposure to the virus – not just on physical health but on all aspects of life.”

The study was funded by the Longitudinal Health and Wellbeing (LH&W) National Core Studies (NCS) for SARS-CoV2-2 research, which was established by the UK Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance.

The four CLS studies included are:

  • Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) (born 2000-02) both cohort members and parents,
  • Next Steps (born 1989-90),
  • 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70), and
  • 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS).

Antibody tests were simultaneously conducted among participants from multiple other longitudinal studies, including the MRC National Survey of Health and Development, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, Understanding Society, the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, Extended Cohort for E-health, Environment and DNA, and Twins UK.

Find out more about the data

For more information about the COVID-19 antibody testing among our four cohort studies, see the CLS website COVID-19 survey page.

The user guide is available to download here.

Access the data

The antibody test data from the four CLS studies taking part have been de-identified and are available for researchers to download under End User Licence from the UK Data Service. Data will show the results from both antibody tests.

To download the data (SN:8823), visit the UK Data Service website.

Data from the MRC National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD) is available via the NSHD data sharing website.


  1. The study was funded by the Longitudinal Health and Wellbeing (LH&W) National Core Study programme (NCS), which aims to understand the impact of COVID-19 on long-term health. NCS has seven research themes, including Serology, UK Longitudinal Linkage Collaboration, Society and Health, Vaccination, Healthcare Disruption, Mental Health and Convalescence Long-COVID Study.
  2. The Centre for Longitudinal Studies is funded by the ESRC. The Medical Research Council provides core funding for the MRC LHA at UCL.

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