News Desk- British scientists analysing data from a widely-used COVID-19 symptom-tracking app have found there are six distinct types of the disease, each distinguished by a cluster of symptoms, a Reuters’s report said.
A team of scientist from King’s College London, found that the six types also correlated with levels of severity of COVID-19 infection, and with the likelihood of a patient needing help with breathing – such as oxygen or ventilator treatment – if they are hospitalised.
The findings could help doctors to predict which COVID-19 patients are most at risk and likely to need hospital care in future waves of the epidemic.
Besides cough, fever and loss of smell – often highlighted as three key symptoms of COVID-19 – the app data showed others including headaches, muscle pains, fatigue, diarrhoea, confusion, loss of appetite and shortness of breath.
The outcomes also varied significantly; some got mild, flu-like symptoms or a rash and others suffered acute symptoms or died.
The study, released online on Friday but not peer-reviewed by independent scientists, described the six COVID-19 types as:
1- ‘Flu-like’ with no fever: Headache, loss of smell, muscle pains, cough, sore throat, chest pain, no fever.
2- ‘Flu-like’ with fever: Headache, loss of smell, cough, sore throat, hoarseness, fever, loss of appetite.
3- Gastrointestinal: Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, sore throat, chest pain, no cough.
4- Severe level one, fatigue: Headache, loss of smell, cough, fever, hoarseness, chest pain, fatigue.
5- Severe level two, confusion: Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain.
6 Severe level three, abdominal and respiratory: Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain, shortness of breath, diarrhoea, abdominal pain.
Patients with level 4,5 and 6 types were more likely to be admitted to hospital and more likely to need respiratory support, the researchers said.