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Coronavirus symptoms: How to tell if you have classic Covid or one of the new strains

How can you tell if you have either the mutant strains from the UK, South Africa or Brazil or the original virus

  • 10:43, 17 JAN 2021

There are now at least three mutant variants of Covid-19 reported in the UK, but how can you tell if you have the ‘classic’ form of the virus or a new strain?

Currently there is the UK mutant, which apparently was first discovered at Addenbrooke’s, as well as Brazilian and South African mutant strains.

The UK variant is rapidly becoming the main strain in Britain, with just under half (49 per cent) of new cases reported having this strain rather than the original one, reports WalesOnline.

There are also at least two cases of the new strain from South Africa, and a one of the two known Brazilian strains was discovered this week leading the government to bring in new rules over travel to stop further spread.

The new strains are believed to be up to 71 per cent more infectious than the original Covid strains, and may be more infectious for children and young people.

Which strain of the virus you have can be determined from the standard tests currently in use.

Symptoms of coronavirus

According to the UK government website, typical symptoms of coronavirus include:

  • Fever
  • A cough which could progress to severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties
  • Feeling overly tired / fatigued
  • A high temperature
  • A sore throat

These can be more severe in people with a weakened immune system, older people, and those with long term conditions such as diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

If you have one of the new strains – the SARS S Protein will not show up on a Covid test, while it does on older variants of the virus.

But experts say the symptoms of the new strains are likely to be the same as the old variants.

There is no evidence they cause any more severe illness, or any different symptoms.

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Dr Richard Lessells, senior researcher at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said it is highly unlikely patients will experience different symptoms from the South Africa strain to the original Covid strain.

And the same goes for the new Covid strain in the UK.

The government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said the new variant in Britain was not causing more serious illnesses than other versions of the infection.

The NHS warns people to look out for a new, persistent cough, a temperature and a loss of sense of taste or smell.

Other symptoms to watch for include headache, fatigue, stomach upset and a loss of appetite.

In short, the only way to tell which strain of the virus you have is through a test – people will not know which strain they have from symptoms alone.

The latest analysis also shows that as many as one in five people can have the coronavirus and show no symptoms at all.

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The same could be as true of the new strains as much as of the old strains.

The methods of preventing transmission also remain the same – avoid unnecessary contact with people outside your household, maintain social distancing, wear a mask, keep your hands clean.

How can you tell if you have either the mutant strains from the UK, South Africa or Brazil or the original virus