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