In a world struck by the deadly pandemic, the increasing COVID-19 cases have sent shock waves across the globe. The crumbling economy along with millions losing on their jobs, Coronavirus has gripped us like never before. The spiralling number is the testament on the inefficacy of the healthcare system to tackle the effects of the novel virus and scientists are still undertaking different researches and studies to chart why the infection affects people differently.
The COVD-19 symptoms seem to vary from patient to patient. While many suffer from a milder form of infection, there are some who have complained of high fever, sore throat, severe headache coupled with muscle pain, confusion, loss of smell and taste, there are others who are asymptomatic. However, the same strain of the novel virus seems to leave a lasting impact on some people, even after their recovery. In a recent study conducted by King’s College, London, it’s been noted that even though COVID is a single virus which is wreaking havoc the world over, there are six different types of infections of the same observed in people.
King’s College, London conducted a detailed study amongest 1600 patients across the UK and the US. The patients were chosen from the list of people who had recorded COVID-19 symptoms between the months of March and April. The targeted patients were asked to present a detailed outline of the noticeable symptoms they suffered in the first 8-10 days of infection. Doctor Carole Sudre, the study’s lead researcher, in a statement, said:
“Our study illustrates the importance of monitoring symptoms over time to make our predictions about individual risk and outcomes more sophisticated and accurate. This approach is helping us to understand the unfolding story of this disease in each patient so they can get the best care.
In accordance with the sampling, the researchers noted 3 groups or clusters that were underlined under the mild category. The other 3 groups were recorded under a more severe category and included patients that were older, or suffered from pre-existing medical conditions.
In order of severity, six main groups of infections were identified as the following:
Cluster 1: Flu-like infection, with no fever
Considered to be the mildest form of infection, the first group recoded trouble in the upper respiratory tract, carried on by an augmented viral load. Patients who suffered from this form of infection noted several symptoms, including, cold, blocked nose, sore throat, muscle pain, chest pain, loss of smell and headache. The cluster group here didn’t report any change in body temperature, however experienced either of the above symptoms.
Cluster 2: Flu-like infection, with the presence of fever
Patients belonging to this cluster recorded symptoms of a mild flu-like infection along with harshness in the voice, which is characteristic of a dry cough or “COVID” cough. Another notable symptom prevalent in this cluster was the presence of a persisting fever. Patients also experienced a loss of appetite.
Cluster 3: Gastrointestinal infection
Patients in this cluster took note of the Covid symptoms which altered their digestion and gastrointestinal functioning. Although dry cough was not a noticeable symptom in this cluster, loss of appetite, vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea were commonly observed by the patients. They also complained about headache and chest pain.
Cluster 4: Severe level 1, with fatigue
This cluster recorded exhaustion, energy loss and fatigue as the most prevalent symptoms. Owing to a hampered immunity, patients also recorded symptoms like loss of smell and taste, headache, increase in body temperature, sore throat, and chest pain.
Cluster 5: Severe level 2, with confusion
Symptoms in this cluster obstructed nervous functioning and have a lasting impact on the brain. Headache, cough, fever, sore throat, hoarseness, loss of smell, loss of appetite, confusion, chest pain, fatigue, muscle pain were the most common symptoms observed in this category.
Cluster 6: Severe level 3, with abdominal and respiratory distress
Symptoms like chronic fever, headache, sore throat, confusion, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, shortness of breath, muscle and abdominal pain were noted in the patients under this cluster. People belonging to this cluster were much more likely to undergo hospitalization, require oxygen support, and ventilation.
The aforementioned symptoms in the segregated clusters throw light on how Coronavirus impacts people differently and also list out the kind of symptoms to expect. In the study conducted, I was noted that headache was persistent in all groups, which faded away after 3-4 days excluding the last two similar groups. Analysisadvises that the difference in the severity of infection can be observed only after 4-5 days of infection.
How to Prevent the Second Wave
The study conducted by scholars and scientists of King’s College is yet to be peer-reviewed or published. However, with the clear identification of the symptoms spanning across 6 clusters, the study throws light on the importance of monitoringthe symptoms. This will help in providing priority care to patients who are experiencing severe symptoms and will serve as a great tool to prevent a second wave in already affected nations.
The set parameters and explicit symptoms will also prove beneficial for doctors to be able to determine who are at more riskand accordingly provide needed medical attention and support to save lives. Moreover, with treatment plan or vaccine, the only requisite need is to stringently follow prescribed preventive measures to stop transmission. Observing the symptoms in the first week is the only plausible solution we have to curb the potential risk of spreading the virus.
be the key to detecting potential spread of infection.