Analysis of data from the COVID Symptom Study app, led by researchers from King’s College London, reveals that there are six distinct ‘types’ of COVID-19, each distinguished by a particular cluster of symptoms.
Moreover, the team found that these types differed in the severity of the disease and the need for respiratory support during hospitalisation.
The findings have major implications for clinical management of COVID-19, and could help doctors predict who is most at risk and likely to need hospital care in a second wave of coronavirus infections.
Although continuous cough, fever and loss of smell (anosmia) are usually highlighted as the three key symptoms of COVID-19, data gathered from app users shows that people can experience a wide range of different symptoms including headaches, muscle pains, fatigue, diarrhea, confusion, loss of appetite, shortness of breath and more. The progression and outcomes also vary significantly between people, ranging from mild flu-like symptoms or a simple rash to severe or fatal disease.