A new strain of COVID-19 was identified in the UK just before Christmas – the Kent variant – and since then others have been discovered. This week, Public Health England confirmed at least 38 cases of a new Covid strain that was first detected in Nigeria.
Spotting symptoms of coronavirus and self-isolating upon a positive test result is still of the utmost importance.
But with the new strains circulating, what are the symptoms to look out for?
The classic symptoms of coronavirus that experts identified earlier in the pandemic are a new continued cough, fever, and loss of taste and smell.
However scientists have been closely monitoring the emergence of new variants of the virus to detect if there are further symptoms that people should be aware of.
A new study carried out by experts at Imperial College London, and involving more than one million people, has found chills to be a new symptom.
Other new symptoms included loss of appetite, headache and muscle aches.
Chills was a novel finding, not previously identified as a coronavirus symptom through research.
They also estimated if every person who had the three official symptoms had a test, only half of all symptomatic infections would be picked up.
And they claimed if the new symptoms, including chills, were included in the official list, an estimated three-quarters of symptomatic infections could be identified.
Full list of symptoms experts are calling to be recognised
- A new, continous cough
- Loss of taste and smell
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle aches
The findings, published in the Journal of Infection, are based on data from 122,000 UK adults using the Zoe Cover Symptom Study app.
Professor Tim Spector, lead scientist on the Zoe app and professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London (KCL), said: “We’ve known since the beginning that just focusing testing on the classic triad of cough, fever and anosmia (loss of smell) misses a significant proportion of positive cases.
“We identified anosmia as a symptom back in May and our work led to the Government adding it to the list; it is now clear that we need to add more.
“By inviting any users who log any new symptoms to get a test, we confirmed that there are many more symptoms of COVID-19.
“This is especially important with new variants that may cause different symptoms.
“For us, the message for the public is clear: if you’re feeling newly unwell, it could be Covid and you should get a test.”
Dr Dan Bunstone, NHS GP and Chief Medical Officer at Push Doctor, said there are other symptoms associated with the coronavirus, but a high temperature or feeling hot to touch on your chest or back, a new and continuous cough, and loss or change to your sense of smell or taste are the most common symptoms to look out for.
He told Express.co.uk: “The recognised symptoms of COVID-19 are evolving and as the pandemic continues it is likely that the official list may be extended or changed. However, currently, the list of official symptoms is comprehensive and the information on the NHS website is up to date.
“Anyone worried about symptoms relating to COVID-19 should contact a healthcare provider. You can do this while self-isolating by calling 111 or arranging a virtual GP appointment.
“Virtual NHS GP appointments can be booked through platforms like Push Doctor, who partner with the NHS to deliver video consultations, and allow you to remain registered with your GP surgery.”