LONDON, Jul 17 (Reuters) – British scientists analyzing data from a popular COVID-19 symptom tracking application found that there are six different types of the disease, differentiated among them by various manifestations.
Voters wear face masks while queuing at a polling station during the general election, amid the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Singapore. July 10, 2020. REUTERS / Edgar Su
A team from King’s College London found that all six types also correlate with levels of severity of infection, as well as the likelihood that a patient would need help breathing if hospitalized.
The findings could help doctors predict which COVID-19 patients are most at risk and may need hospital care in future waves of the epidemic.
“If you can predict who these people are on the fifth day, you have time to support them and to take early interventions like monitoring blood oxygen and sugar levels, and making sure they are adequately hydrated,” said Claire Steves , a physician who led the study.
Aside from cough, fever, and loss of smell – often highlighted as three key symptoms of COVID-19 – the app’s data showed others such as headache, muscle pain, fatigue, diarrhea, confusion, loss of appetite, and lack of air.
The consequences also varied significantly: some had mild symptoms, such as the flu, or a rash, while others showed severe effects or died.
The study, which was released online Friday and has not been reviewed by independent scientists, described the six types of COVID-19 as follows:
1.- “Like the flu” without fever: headache, loss of appetite, cough, muscle pain, sore throat and chest.
2.- “Like the flu” with fever: headache, loss of smell and appetite, cough, sore throat and hoarseness.
3.- Gastrointestinal: headache, loss of smell and appetite, diarrhea, sore throat and chest, without cough.
4.- Serious level one, fatigue: headache and chest pain, loss of smell, cough, fever and hoarseness.
5.- Serious level two, confusion: pain in the head, chest, throat and muscles, loss of smell and appetite, cough, fever and fatigue.
6.- Serious level three, abdominal and respiratory: pain in the head, chest, throat, abdomen and muscles, loss of smell and appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, fatigue, confusion, shortness of breath and diarrhea.
Patients with level four, five, and six types were more likely to be admitted to a hospital and need respiratory support, according to the researchers.
Report by Kate Kelland; edited in Spanish by Carlos Serrano