Chennai: Based on symptoms, researchers have hypothesised that the infected population can be separated into clusters or types of coronavirus.
Published in the medRxiv preprint, a non-peer reviewed study led by scientists from King’s College London in the UK analysed data from over 1,600 confirmed coronavirus patients spread across the UK, the US and Europe, who registered their symptoms over a period of time.
The research reached a conclusion that, if particular symptoms appeared together, one could make a prediction as to the possible progression of the disease, and ultimately its outcome.
The study makes some interesting observations: symptoms like confusion, abdominal pain and shortness of breath are not widely known as Covid-19 symptoms, yet could be hallmarks of the most severe forms of the disease.
Claire Steves, a co-author of the study from King’s College London, said, “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.”
“These findings have important implications for care and monitoring of people who are most vulnerable to severe COVID-19,” he added.
According to the study, based on symptoms experienced, patients could by and large be divided into six clusters.
In the first cluster were patients who reported ‘flu-like symptoms with no fever’, with manifestations including loss of smell, muscle pains, cough, sore throat, chest pain. However, they did not report any fever.
In the second cluster were those who suffered from headache, loss of smell, cough, sore throat, hoarseness, fever, and loss of appetite.
The third cluster showed gastrointestinal symptoms, with a combination of headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, sore throat and chest pain. However, they did not report persistent coughs. In the fourth cluster, the scientists said patients reported loss of smell, cough, headache, fever, hoarseness, chest pain, and fatigue.
The fifth cluster (more severe compared to fourth) expressed the same symptoms, with the addition of loss of appetite, sore throat, confusion, and muscle pain.
In the sixth cluster (most severe), patients experienced headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain, shortness of breath, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain. All the participants experienced headache and loss of smell.