• Scientists analyzed the data entered on the Zoe Covid Symptom app
  • The changing symptoms are associated with the spread of COVID-19 variants
  • The Delta variant now accounts for more than half of all new cases in the US

A new study on COVID-19 found that the most common symptoms of the virus have been milder ailments than first thought and now include headaches, runny nose and sneezing.

The public has been told to look out for fever, coughs and loss of smell and taste as likely symptoms of COVID-19. However, researchers for the Zoe Covid Symptom study based in the United Kingdom found that the widely known symptoms aren't the most common ones emerging in new cases today.

The study was conducted with the use of an app that allowed the public to enter their symptoms so scientists can analyze the data. Based on the findings, symptoms differ significantly depending on whether the patient has received a vaccine and how many doses they got.

According to the study, the symptoms often experienced by unvaccinated individuals who were diagnosed with COVID-19 included headache, sore throat and runny nose, CNBC reported.

“Loss of smell comes in at number 9 and shortness of breath comes far down the list at number 30, indicating the symptoms as recorded previously are changing with the evolving variants of the virus,” the study noted.

People who have already been fully vaccinated against SARS-COV-2 but tested positive for the virus often suffered headaches, runny nose and sneezing.

COVID-19 symptoms reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, such as a persistent cough, fever and shortness of breath, fell down the list at eight, 12 and 29 respectively.

“A persistent cough now ranks at number 8 if you’ve had two vaccine doses, so is no longer the top indicator of having COVID,” the researchers said.

For people who have only received one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, the symptoms listed included headache, runny nose, sore throat, sneezing and persistent coughing.

In recent weeks, a surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the Delta variant has been recorded in several places, including the U.K. and the U.S. The variant, which was first identified in India, now accounts for 51.7% of all new coronavirus cases reported in the U.S. over the two weeks that ended July 3, according to new estimates from the CDC.

COVID-19 cases caused by the more contagious variant are also seeing an uptick in states with low vaccination rates, including Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Connecticut.

A patient infected with Covid-19 lays in a bed in the intensive care unit of the Saint-Camille hospital, in Bry-Sur-Marne, east of Paris
Representational image of a patient infected with COVID-19. AFP / Anne-Christine POUJOULAT