Scientists map out six clusters to understand severity of coronavirus symptoms, and chances of developing complications

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Jul 21, 2020, 01:51 PM(IST)

A 3D-printed coronavirus model is seen in front of the words coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on display in this illustration taken March 25, 2020 Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

As the death toll and the number of infections continue to induct record numbers everyday, a group of scientists have been able to trace and compartmentalise symptoms of the disease

Coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc all over the world, infiltrating and decapitating every territory that falls in its way. Scientifically, the most annoying facet of the virus has been its unpredictability.

In the beginning, scientists weren’t sure what to make of it, and what its most definitive group of symptoms are. Over the course of 2020, the information has been modified many times. Very recently, a group of scientists posited that the virus may indeed be airborne, which shocked the scientific community worldwide.

As the death toll and the number of infections continue to induct record numbers everyday, a group of scientists have been able to trace and compartmentalise symptoms of the disease. This division may help identify severe symptoms from non-severe, and also additionally offer insight into the precursory bodily reactions before a victim develops complications.

App only!

To achieve this, the scientists used a smartphone application to predict the severity in cases leading upto complications. With additional research, it could help identify and prevent complications among severe cases.

Also read: COVID-19 vaccines should be made public for global good: WHO director-general

The study has been published medRxiv, and hasn’t been peer-reviewed yet. This measurement of severity will facilitate priority basis action on certain cases. For instance, people who actually need medical assistance will simply not to be told to isolate at time until symptoms worsen, because the worsening of their symptoms will be predicted. Additionally, people who have minor symptoms and don’t need medical care may free up space in hospitals for severe cases.

Also read: Sweden says people infected with COVID-19 should do contact tracing themselves

To understand this, the researchers collated data a particular mobile application with four million users. Out of these 1,653 who had tested positive for the virus were included in the study.  Their status updates were recorded by the team. Out of these, 383 made at least one trip to the hospital, and 107 required oxygen or ventilation.

Six clusters

Based on this they created a spectrum of six clusters, with the sixth cluster being most susceptible to complications.

The first cluster developed only minor symptoms like cough and muscle pain. Out of these only 1.5 per cent needed breathing support, and 16 per cent went to the hospital. In contrast, in cluster six, breathlessness was seen, followed by chest pain, fatigue, and gastrointestinal symptoms. Over 20 per cent of these required ventilation support, and at least 45.5 per cent went the hospital.

Also read: ‘Breakthrough’ treatment slashes death risk among Covid-19 patients: Study

According to the team, the first two clusters represent minor cases of the virus. While the last two represent cases that may become complicated over time.

If verified by other researchers and medical professionals, this demarcation and grouping could help save millions of lives. The researchers claim that based on their data, they could predict whether a patient would require breathing assistance in over 79 per cent of the cases.

Read in App