People have been urged to take Covid tests if they feel they might have caught the virus as fears mount that new variants cause different symptoms.
Millions of people have already reported symptoms and test results to the ZOE COVID Symptom Study app and researchers have gathered information on the most common symptoms.
Professor Tim Spector OBE, a genetic epidemiologist at King’s College London, who led the study, said people should get a Covid test regardless of whether they have the classic triad of symptoms: a persistent cough, high temperature or loss of smell or taste.
The professor has long been warning that the classic symptoms of the coronavirus are not experienced by everyone.
He said: “This week, we published research that showed that the classic three Covid symptoms of cough, fever and anosmia misses a significant proportion of positive cases.
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“We are pushing for the list to be expanded to help us pick up more cases and drive down the number of cases.
“It’s also important for any 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.”
Prof Spector and his team have called for the official NHS list of Covid symptoms to be expanded to include a sore throat, headache, fatigue and diarrhoea.
The study data shows these symptoms are experienced by more than half of Covid cases, but on their own, do not necessarily mean someone has the disease, the Sun reports.
The researcher team said testing Brits with the three ‘classic’ symptoms would have spotted 69 per cent of symptomatic cases.
The team has not found new variants cause different symptoms in their own line of research.
But data from the Office for National Statistics has shown a slight change in the most common symptoms experienced by those who are sick with the Kent variant.
They are more likely to complain of cough and fatigue but less likely to experience loss of taste and smell compared with the original strain of the virus.
There is no evidence of differences in gastrointestinal symptoms, shortness of breath or headaches.
Evidence for symptoms of the South African variant and the new variation of the Kent strain, found in Bristol, have not been gathered.