In the recent trials for India’s first indigenous vaccine against COVID-19, it was found out that one out of five people who signed for the trial had already developed antibodies. Simply put, this implies that they already contracted COVID-19 without even realising it. Now, that’s kind of confusing especially when you compare these absolutely asymptomatic cases with the severe ones.
While there are those who are relying on ventilators to fight the coronavirus infection, on the other hand, there are people who were infected but they didn't even realise it. So what’s happening here?
A recent study led by researchers from King’s College London might have an answer. Based on data from the King College’s COVID Symptom Study app, the findings of this study reveal that there happen to be six distinct ‘types’ of COVID-19, each one of these distinguished by a unique cluster of symptoms.
Here’s everything you need to know about these unique clusters of symptoms:
Here are the six types of COVID-19 symptom clusters as identified by the King's College Researchers:
Identified as the mildest form of COVID-19 symptoms, this cluster type can be identified with symptoms like cold, sore throat, blocked nose, chest pain, muscle pain, loss of smell, and headache. Fever, initially identified as the most representative of COVID-19 symptoms, is absent in this cluster type.
Patients belonging to this cluster report mild-flu like symptoms along with fever and a loss of appetite. Additionally, a hoarse voice, a symptom of dry cough is also observed.
This cluster is identified with symptoms like headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, diarrhea, sore throat, and chest pain. However, there's no cough in this type of COVID-19 infection.
In this cluster, fatigue is identified as the most representative of symptoms. Others include headache, loss of smell, cough, fever, hoarseness, and chest pain.
This cluster included symptoms like headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, and muscle pain.
The most severe of symptom cluster, this type of COVID 19 infections is identified with symptoms like headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain, shortness of breath, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
As per King's College researchers, most of the COVID-19 patients who require breathing support or ventilators end up at hospitals roughly 13 days after the onset of initial symptoms. They have developed a model by combining information about age, sex, BMI, and pre-existing conditions together with symptoms gathered over just five days from the onset of the illness.
This helps them in identifying which cluster a patient actually falls in and whether they’d be needing hospitalisation and ventilators or not. With the help of these initial symptoms, you can easily identify who's at higher risk of the infection and who’s not as early as day five and this could save a lot of lives.
“These findings have important implications for care and monitoring of people who are most vulnerable to severe COVID-19. If you can predict who these people are at day five, you have time to give them support and early interventions such as monitoring blood oxygen and sugar levels, and ensuring they are properly hydrated - simple care that could be given at home, preventing hospitalisations and saving lives,” Dr Claire Steves from King’s College London was quoted in the King’s College’s News Centre.
However, the study also throws light on a very important aspect here. While many are taking the asymptomatic, unidentified COVID-19 cases as a sign of the receding severity, that's perhaps not the case. Assessing from this study, the novel virus doesn't impact everyone the same way and as we have reiterated several times, going lax with the precautionary measure is simply not a good idea right now. It's a new virus, and there's very limited that we know about it yet. Clearly, staying safe and cautious is the best and wisest thing to do right now.
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