Study links four new symptoms to Covid-19 infection, including headaches and loss of appetite


Top line

An important study by researchers at Imperial College London identified four new symptoms linked to Covid-19 infection – researchers say this is in addition to the “classic” symptoms of loss of smell and taste, fever and persistent cough and could help identify more cases of the disease.


In a study of over a million people in England between June 2020 and January 2021, researchers identified chills, loss of appetite, headaches and muscle pain as additional symptoms related to Covid- 19.

Some symptoms vary by age, with headaches being the most reported in children and adolescents (aged 5 to 17), who are less likely to report “classic” symptoms of Covid-19, and adults of over 55 reporting loss of appetite.

Professor Paul Elliott, director of the REACT research program leading the study, said the results suggest that many people with Covid-19 will not be tested or self-isolate “because their symptoms don’t match. to those used in current public health guidelines to help identify those infected.

UK guidelines currently focus on ‘classic’ symptoms of the coronavirus, and researchers predict that an additional 25% of symptomatic cases could be detected if the testing criteria were broadened to include these new symptoms.

Researchers have also identified differences between people contracting the new UK variant of Covid-19 – that those responsible to predict will become the dominant US virus by March – who were more likely to develop a persistent cough but less likely to report loss of smell or taste.

Chief critic

The nature of the study, which does not say whether or not other diseases were tested in addition to Covid-19 or not, leaves some ambiguity as to the cause of these new symptoms mentionned Dr Tom Wingfield, Senior Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Physician at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in England. Chills, muscle aches, loss of appetite, and headaches are all “symptoms commonly found in people with other infections, including the flu, rhinovirus, and other causes of.” common cold, “” Wingfield said, adding “we do not know from REACT to report whether people tested for Covid-19 had more than one infection at the time of testing. This is relevant given the frequency of influenza, rhinovirus and other viruses during the winter months. “

Further reading

COVID-19 linked to wider symptom set than previously thought – REACT study (Imperial College London)

Study: Immunity to Covid-19 may wane after infection (Forbes)

British variant doubling every 10 days and could become dominant US strain by March, study finds (Forbes)

Here’s what you need to know about the new variant of Covid-19 in England (Forbes)

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