Covid-19: loss of taste, fever… with Omicron, different symptoms that last less time

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A British study, published by in the scientific journal The Lancet, affirms that with contamination with the Omicron variant, the clinical risks are less important and the symptoms last less long than with Delta. Some symptoms are also more common with this new strain of SARS-CoV-2.

New symptoms that last less with Omicron? In a study published Thursday, April 7 in the journal The Lancet, researchers in the United Kingdom have taken a close interest in the risks of developing serious forms and in the conditions linked to the variant discovered more than five months ago in South Africa. The objective: to assess the differences in symptoms that exist between the Delta variant – prevalent for several months in France in 2021 – and the Omicron variant, which gradually replaced it last December.

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In practice, scientists at King’s College London relied on data from the British public health app called ZOE. They studied nearly 63,000 testimonials from patients, all vaccinated before being contaminated with Covid-19. The finding? The symptoms of people who have been infected with Omicron last less time than with a Delta infection:

  • For people who have not received no vaccination boostersymptoms were observed during 8.3 days with Omicron contamination (against 9.6 days with the Delta variant).
  • For people who have received a booster shot, 4.4 days symptoms have been observed with Omicron against 7.7 days with Delta.

Changing symptoms

Beyond symptoms that last for a shorter time in the patient, the researchers also detected a significant change in affections: “The Omicron variant and its BA.2 sub-variant will “nest” in the upper airways whereas previously, the virus was going to affect the bronchi”, explained on March 30 the general practitioner Jérôme Marty, in our columns.

The symptoms observed today by doctors are therefore different. In this new UK study, only 17% of patients infected with Omicron lost taste and the smell (against 53% with the Delta variant). Fever and persistent cough, common with Delta, were seen less frequently with Omicron. Conversely, the sore throat are much more frequent with the Omicron variant, which has a “much greater impact at the level of what is called the “ENT” sphere (ears, nose, sinuses, mouth, tongue, throat)”, added Dr. Marty . This study also confirms that the Omicron variant is less dangerous than Delta: the risk of hospitalizations is reduced by almost 25%.

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As the research work was carried out several months ago, this study gives no indication of the clinical risks associated with the BA.2 sub-variant, which today represents more than 92% of contamination cases in France. However, they will soon be presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

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