The researchers at King’s College London, Massachusetts General Hospital and health science company ZOE analysed the data from the COVID Symptom Study free smartphone app that was launched in the U.K. and the U.S in March 2020. It collects self-reported data from both asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals and tracks the progression in real time. The information recorded includes symptoms, hospitalisations, test outcomes, demographic data and pre-existing medical conditions.
Overall, the sample of over 2.6 million people in the UK and the U.S. was analysed. Almost 806,000 users reported symptoms associated with COVID-19. Of those 18,374 reported to have been tested for coronavirus with 7,178 confirmed cases.
The study aimed to identify the combination of symptoms most predictive of COVID-19. Although many people have presented with flu-like symptoms, the researchers found that the majority (two thirds) of those who tested positive for COVID-19 experienced anosmia (loss of taste and smell) compared with just over a fifth of the users who tested negative. Thus, anosmia could be a potential COVID-19 predictor in addition to commonly considered symptoms such as fever and persistent cough, the authors concluded.
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