How COVID-19 Symptoms Are Evolving With New Variants

HOW HAVE THE SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19 CHANGED OVER TIME?

As mentioned in the study, David Strain, a senior clinical lecturer at the University of Exeter Medical School, noted how the common symptoms that were reported at the beginning of the pandemic were loss of smell, followed by shortness of breath, coughing, and vascular injuries. “That became the standard that we expected,” he said. However, the expert suggests that there has been an evolution of symptom clusters, as loss of smell and taste are now no longer as prevalent symptoms as they once were. “That really happened at the time of omicron. Omicron subvariants BA.1 and BA.2 seemed to migrate from [infecting mainly] lungs and nervous tissue to the upper airways. BA.1 for many people was little more than a severe head cold,” he added. While identifying some of the common symptoms of COVID-19 in recent times, he listed upper respiratory symptoms, fever, myalgia, fatigue, sneezing, and sore throat to be a few.

WHAT MAKES THESE CHANGED SYMPTOMS WORRISOME?

Another expert, Betty Raman, who is a senior clinical research fellow in the Radcliffe Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, highlighted that the new symptoms are inflammatory. “You have an immune system that is constantly activated because of damage being done, either as a result of the disease or as a cause of the disease. That essentially keeps the immune system constantly working, there’s the exhaustion of the immune system, which then becomes maladaptive or dysregulated. And that contributes to a response that lasts longer, that may be more severe,” she explained.

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