Scientists are making new discoveries about the novel coronavirus almost on a daily basis. It is obvious now that the virus enters via eyes, mouth, or nose or through the respiratory droplets spread when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or shouts. Now the scientists while analyzing the Covid19 symptom tracking app have discovered that there are six different types of coronavirus each having its own cluster of symptoms.
By identifying the different types of the virus, the doctors will be able to determine the severity of the patients infected and whether respiratory support is needed. Scientists at King’s College London, who carried out the study, said there will be major implications of this study on treatment decisions in case the second wave of the virus occurs and it could save a lot of lives.
Although the three main symptoms of the illness are identified as continuous cough, loss of smell, or fever but the data collected from more than 1500 people using the COVID Symptom study app in the US and UK revealed that there is a wide range of different effects people may experience. These may include muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath, and more. All the infected people experienced headaches and loss of smell with different combinations of symptoms at different times.
The data also revealed that the outcome and evolution of the virus vary significantly according to the patient. While some are affected with only mild symptoms of flu or a rash, others may suffer a fatal or severe disease according to the study. The scientists concluded that which of the type a person is infected with, may indicate how ill the person may get and how quickly the disease will progress.
The six different types of coronavirus the scientists presented were:
- Gastrointestinal: diarrhea, chest pain, loss of smell, headache, loss of appetite, sore throat, and no cough.
- Flu-like with fever: cough, headache, hoarseness, loss of appetite, loss of smell, sore throat, and fever.
- Flu-like with no fever: cough, headache, chest pain, muscle pains, loss of smell, sore throat, and no fever.
- Severe Level one, fatigue: loss of smell, fever, chest pain, headache, cough, hoarseness, and fatigue.
- Severe level two, confusion: loss of smell, cough, hoarseness, chest pain, confusion, headache, loss of appetite, fever, sore throat, fatigue, and muscle pain.
- Severe level three, respiratory and abdominal: loss of smell, cough, hoarseness, chest pain, confusion, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, headache, loss of appetite, fever, sore throat, fatigue, muscle pain, and diarrhea.
Only 1.5% of the people with type 1, 4.4 % with type 2, and 3.3% with type 3 required additional breathing support. But these figures were much higher for patients with other 3 types including 8.6% with type 4, 9.9% for type 5, and almost 20% for patients with type 6. Moreover, half of the patients infected with type 6 had to be admitted to a hospital while this figure was only 16% in the case of type 1 patients.
According to the scientist, the people infected with type 4,5 and 6 were older and frailer and overweight and were suffering from pre-existing conditions such as lung disease or diabetes than people with type 1,2 or 3. After identifying the types they then gathered information about the age, BMI, sex, and preexisting conditions of the patients within 5 days of the illness. This helped them to devise a model so that each patient can be classified in those six different types of coronavirus and if they need additional treatment and breathing support. This model had a higher likelihood of being accurate as compared to the former which only incorporated a person’s age, BMI, sex, and preexisting conditions.
The scientists also urged people to make it a habit to use the app on a daily basis and log their health and symptoms they are facing over the coming months which will help the scientists to stay ahead of any local hotspots and a probable second wave of the virus.