A study by scientists at the Medical University of Vienna found that various symptoms appear in groups.
In a short time, it will be a year since the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus began to spread around the world, unleashing the worst pandemic of the last century. In the more than 10 months of living together, knowledge about the symptoms it causes in those who have manifestations increased (because it is estimated that between 40 and 45% of those infected are asymptomatic) and the prolonged effects that a group of patients presents. Now, a new study carried out is part of the same line: scientists from the Medical University of Vienna (MedUni, Austria) identified 7 different ways in which mild covid disease occurs.
In the work, published in the journal Allergy, a team of MedUni scientists showed that mild symptoms of Covid-19 can appear in 7 ways according to the symptoms and that the disease leaves significant changes on the immune system, even after 10 weeks.
The team, led by immunologist Winfried F. Pickl and allergist Rudolf Valenta, both from the Center for Pathophysiology, Infectology and Immunology, believe the findings could play an important role in treating patients and developing a potent vaccine. .
The study involved 109 convalescents and 98 healthy people in the control group. From the analysis of their charts, the researchers were able to show that various symptoms related to Covid-19 occur in groups. The 7 are:
1) Flu-like symptoms: with fever, chills, fatigue and cough.
2) Symptoms similar to those of a common cold: with rhinitis, sneezing, dry throat and nasal congestion.
3) Joint and muscle pain.
4) Inflammation of the eyes and mucous membranes.
5) Lung problems: with pneumonia and shortness of breath.
6) Gastrointestinal problems: including diarrhea, nausea, and headache.
7) Loss of sense of smell and taste and other symptoms.
“In the latter group, we found that loss of smell and taste predominantly affects people with a ‘young immune system‘, measured by the number of immune cells (T lymphocytes) that have recently migrated from the thymus gland. This means that we were able to clearly distinguish the systemic forms (groups 1 and 3) from the organ-specific forms (groups 6 and 7) of the primary disease Covid-19, “says Pickl.
At the same time, scientists established that SARS-Cov-2 infection leaves detectable changes for a long time in the blood of convalescents, very similar to a fingerprint.
For example, the number of granulocytes found, which are responsible in the immune system for fighting bacterial pathogens, was significantly lower than normal in the convalescent group.
Pickl explains: “However, both the CD4 and CD8 T cell compartments developed memory cells and the CD8 T cells remained strongly activated. This indicates that the immune system is still intensely committed to illness several weeks after the initial infection. While the regulatory cells are severely depleted, and that’s probably a dangerous combination that could lead to autoimmunity. “
“Our findings contribute to a better understanding of the disease and help us in the development of potential vaccines, as we now have access to promising biomarkers and we can track even better, “emphasize the scientists.