Scientists urge UK to expand official list of symptoms for Covid-19
Prof Calum Semple, a member of the government’s Sage committee of experts, argues that the 'narrow' clinical definition of Covid in the UK leads to delays in identifying people with the disease.
Scientists have urged the UK to expand its official list of Covid symptoms to reduce the number of missed cases. This will also help in people knowing if they should self-isolate, they said.
Prof Calum Semple, a member of the government’s Sage committee of experts, argues that the 'narrow' clinical definition of covid in the UK leads to delays in identifying people with the disease.
Semple, of the University of Liverpool, along with Dr Alex Crozier at UCL and others describe how Covid patients do not always experience the official UK symptoms of a high fever, a new continuous cough, or a loss of sense of smell or taste early on, or at any time in the course of the disease.
Meanwhile, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control describe a variety of symptoms associated with mild-to-moderate Covid-19. This includes headache, weakness or tiredness, muscle aches, runny nose, appetite loss and sore throat.
The scientists highlighted that many of these “unofficial” symptoms appear sooner and are more common in young, unvaccinated people.
Dr Alexander Edwards, associate professor in biomedical technology at the University of Reading, was quoted by the Guardian saying, "Many of the symptoms are very common and the best way to judge the likelihood of someone having Covid is a combination of symptoms, their risk of exposure, plus testing. Self-reporting symptoms is especially difficult because even the words we use can be interpreted differently".
He added, "Spotting people who are infected is just part of the story, however, because unless you can effectively support infected individuals to isolate from others and thereby break the chain of infection, testing alone doesn’t reduce the burden of this disease".