Around 8 in 10 young adults in the UK are likely to have COVID-19 antibodies, Press Association has reported.

New figures estimate that people aged between 16 and 24 range from 80.4% in Northern Ireland to 85.6% in Scotland, with 83.9% for Wales and 85.4% for England.

The presence of coronavirus antibodies suggests someone has had the virus in the past or has been vaccinated.

After two to three weeks of infection or vaccination your body is able to make enough antibodies to fight it.

The antibodies then remain in the blood at low levels. However, these can decline over time and eventually lower to the point that tests can no longer detect them.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) are based on a sample of blood test results for the week beginning August 9.

The estimates are for people in private households and do not include settings such as hospitals and care homes.

The figures suggest that antibody levels among young adults has increased recently, coinciding with the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to the younger age groups.

In England the percentage of 16 to 24-year-olds likely to have Covid-19 antibodies has jumped from 52.9% in the week beginning June 7 to 85.4% in the week beginning August 9, while the estimates for 25 to 34-year-olds have risen from 67.8% to 96.2%.

Scotland has seen particularly sharp increases across the two-month period, with a rise from 40.7% to 85.6% for people aged 16-24 and from 59.7% to 96.2% for 25 to 34-year-olds.

However, those in older age groups may be declining after studies have shown the lowering efficiency of vaccines.

“In some regions and countries, we are starting to see a decline in the percentage of people testing positive for antibodies amongst the oldest age groups, although rates amongst these age groups remain high,” the ONS said.

“Most older people who are vaccinated will retain higher antibody levels than prior to vaccination but may have a lower number of antibodies in the blood at the time of testing,” they added.

Overall an estimated 94.1% of the adult population of England was likely to have tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies in the week beginning August 9.

For Wales, the figure is 92.0%, for Scotland 93.6% and for Northern Ireland 90.4%.

The ONS said there is a clear pattern between vaccination and testing positive for Covid-19 antibodies but “the detection of antibodies alone is not a precise measure of the immunity protection given by vaccination”.