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Sunday 31st May 2020

Coronavirus: Main symptoms of COVID-19 a loss of taste and smell, research suggests

59 per cent of those with the disease experienced it

Researchers investigating the coronavirus pandemic have revealed what they believe could be the main symptoms  of COVID-19 - loss of taste and smell.

On the NHS website, it lists a fever and a new, persistent cough as the top symptoms to watch out for.

Research suggests the strongest coronavirus symptoms are loss of taste and smell (Credit: Pexels)

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Official advice from the health service reads: "Do not leave your home if you have [...] a high temperature. This means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature).

Over half who tested positive lost their taste and smell

"[Or] a new, continuous cough. This means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)."

Now, researchers have suggested that a loss of taste and smell could be the strongest symptoms of the flu-like disease.

Over half of people with COVID-19 reported these symptoms on the app (Credit: Pexels)

King's College London scientists tracked symptoms via the Covid Symptom Tracker App, which people use to log how they feel.

Of the 1.5 million people who had signed up for the app by March 29, 59 per cent of those who had tested positive for COVID-19 reported losing their senses of taste and smell.

The strongest symptoms?

According to the researchers, those symptoms were much stronger in predicting whether or not someone would test positive for coronavirus, compared with a fever.

People with loss of smell and taste appear to be three times more likely to have contracted COVID-19.

The creators of the app have also built a model featuring all the reported symptoms of COVID-19.

This includes a persistent cough, fever, fatigue, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, abdominal pain and a loss of taste and smell.

A runny nose is believed to be more indicative of a cold (Credit: Pexels)

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The strongest predictor for a positive diagnosis of all those, the researchers said, was the loss of taste and smell.

As reported by the Telegraph, King's College's Prof. Tim Spector, the lead researcher, said: "When combined with other symptoms, people with loss of smell and taste appear to be three times more likely to have contracted COVID-19 according to our data."

As of Tuesday (March 31) afternoon, the UK death toll in the coronavirus pandemic stood at 1,789. The figure rose by 381 on Monday.

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