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Covid-19 symptoms can be grouped into six distinct categories, research claims

8 August 2020 12:20 PM
Tags:
UWC
Study
Covid-19 symptoms
Covid-19 research
Covid-19 illness
Professor Burtman Fielding
Kings College London
symptom study

UK researchers at King’s College London have identified six distinct types of Covid-19, each distinguished by its own cluster of symptoms.

A study, based on data from a symptom tracker app, has found that the six types of Covid-19 illness differed in their severity.

The study, titled Symptom clusters in Covid19: A potential clinical prediction tool from the COVID Symptom study app, could potentially help doctors determine the best form of treatment for each individual patient based on their symptoms.

RELATED: CT woman describes having 'terrifying' Covid-19 symptoms for almost four months

Professor Burtram Fielding, the head of research at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) says the study's findings have major implications for the clinical treatment of the virus.

"It takes the fight against Covid-19 to another level" Fielding tells CapeTalk weekend host Sara-Jayne King.

These are the six symptom groupings identified in the study:

  • Flu-like with no fever: Headache, loss of smell, muscle pains, cough, sore throat, chest pain, no fever.
  • Flu-like with fever: Headache, loss of smell, cough, sore throat, hoarseness, fever, loss of appetite.
  • Gastrointestinal: Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, sore throat, chest pain, no cough.
  • Severe level one, fatigue: Headache, loss of smell, cough, fever, hoarseness, chest pain, fatigue.
  • Severe level two, confusion: Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain.
  • 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, diarrhea, abdominal pain.

RELATED: Groote Schuur Hospital joins global study comparing notes on Covid-19 ICU care

Fielding says it's clear that only a small percentage of all patients who contract Covid-19 are hospitalised with severe illness.

He adds that each of the symptoms must be viewed in conjunction with each patient's medical history.

Based on how you cluster these symptoms, they could kind of predict, when combined with other factors, who would require hospitalisation and ventilation.

Professor Burtram Fielding, Director - Research and Development - UWC

It really gives the medical fraternity a chance to predict - eight days in advance almost - who would require hospitalisation and oxygen. In the end, it gives us a better fighting chance.

Professor Burtram Fielding, Director - Research and Development - UWC

These symptoms on their own are not enough to predict, researchers had to combine this with a patient's gender, comorbidities, and other factors.

Professor Burtram Fielding, Director of Research and Development - UWC

It shows the public that, even when we look at these type of symptoms and these types of clusters, only a small percentage of people end up in the hospital.

Professor Burtram Fielding, Director - Research and Development - UWC

Listen to the insightful discussion on Weekend Breakfast with Sara-Jayne King:


8 August 2020 12:20 PM
Tags:
UWC
Study
Covid-19 symptoms
Covid-19 research
Covid-19 illness
Professor Burtman Fielding
Kings College London
symptom study

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