A number of new symptoms could be a sign of infection for Covid-19 according, to new research from Imperial College London.

From June last year up until last month, more than one million people were subject to swab tests and questionnaires as part of Imperial College London’s REACT study.

Those who recorded chills, loss of appetite, headache and muscle aches were more likely to test positive for coronavirus, according tot the study.

At present, the NHS guidance highlights three classic symptoms:

  1. Fever
  2. New persistent cough
  3. Loss of taste and smell

The study pointed out that 60% people who tested positive did not report any symptoms the the week leading up to their test but found the more symptoms people showed, the more likely they were to test positive for infection.

Symptoms varied depending on age, but chills were common among all age groups.

Young people between the ages of five and 17 were more likely to report headaches although were less likely to report more common symptoms such as a fever or a persistent cough.

A loss of appetite and muscle aches were more common among 18-54-year-olds as well as those over the age of 53.

The research suggests that if more people were tested from the new symptoms the number of symptomatic coronavirus infections could rise by around three quarters.

Last week GPs urged the public to be aware of a range of symptoms associated with Covid-19 that is causing 20% of cases being missed.

In an open letter, penned by Dr Alex Sohal, Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer in Primary Care at Queen Mary University of London, over 140 GPs share their experiences of patients with Covid-19 in a bid to “change the Covid-19 case definition”.

The letter, titled ‘Open letter to Chris Whitty and Susan Hopkins: change covid-19 case definition in line with WHO to save lives’, explains: “As GPs, we regularly review patients with mild symptoms - for example, a runny or blocked nose, sore throat, hoarseness, myalgia, fatigue, and headache - who subsequently turn out to be Covid-19 positive.”

Tim Spector, lead scientist on the ZOE COVID Symptom Study app, and Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London, says, “People need to know all the symptoms and not just focus on the three ‘official’ symptoms that miss over 20 per cent of cases.

“Headache, fatigue, diarrhoea, muscle pain, skipping meals and confusion are just some of the other symptoms associated with Covid-19.

“If anyone is suffering from any of these over the coming weeks, stay at home, self isolate and get a test.”