British scientists have discovered that the novel coronavirus appears to have mutated into six different strains during its spread across the globe. The findings come as health experts have expressed their fears about a second wave of the virus and hope that the data could aid civilians by helping to identify which infections are more dangerous than others.
According to Reuters, a team from King’s College in London looked at data from 1,600 COVID-19 positive patients located in both the U.S. and the U.K. between March and April. The researchers noticed a pattern of six different symptom clusters which correlated to the severity of the case.
The first two types identified were described as “flu-like” and included symptoms such as the inability to smell, muscle and chest pain, and sore throat. The first strain did not include fever as a sign; the second did.
The third grouping focused on gastrointestinal issues that included upper respiratory pain but did not include a cough.
The fourth strain listed symptoms that comprised of “headache, loss of smell, cough, fever, hoarseness, chest pain, [and] fatigue.”
The fifth cluster was described as including all the features of the fourth type in addition to lack of appetite, sore throat, confusion, and muscle pain.
The sixth strain was identified as having “headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain, shortness of breath, diarrhea, abdominal pain.”
The first three types were considered less serious versions of the coronavirus. However, scientists warned that the fourth through sixth versions were causes for concern, and patients who had displayed those symptoms often wound up on the hospital.
The team behind the data hopes that if individuals are aware that they had a more potent version of the virus, they could seek help sooner.
“If you can predict who these people are at Day Five, you have time to give them support and early interventions such as monitoring blood oxygen and sugar levels, and ensuring they are properly hydrated,” explained Claire Steves, a doctor who co-led the study.
The information comes as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise throughout the U.S. As was previously covered by The Inquisitr, some counties in hotspots such as Florida have once again begun to impose curfews to stem the spiking numbers. In addition, an unpublished coronavirus report suggested that 18 “red-zone” states should roll back their reopening plans.
The disease has infected over 14 million people throughout the world and has claimed close to 600,000 lives.