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Delta variant: What are the symptoms to look out for?

covid 2
File Photo: KM/Umar Ganie

Loss of smell may not be the main symptom of a Covid patient, if he or she is infected by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 as the new variant, which is on its way to becoming predominant across the world, is believed to have brought in some changes in the symptoms, a study conducted by Australia’s Griffith University has revealed.

As published in The Conversation, Lara Herrero, research leader in virology and infectious diseases of the university, has said the data they have worked with were mostly from the United Kingdom and collected through a self-reporting system.


Lara also mentioned that the study did not take into account which participant is infected with which variant but as the Delta variant is at present the predominant one in the UK, it’s a “safe bet the symptoms we see here reflect the Delta variant,” she wrote.

What is the Delta variant?

Delta variant, first reported in India in 2020, is an emerging variant of the Covid-19 virus which has now spread to close to 100 countries. It is believed to be stronger and more transmissible than the Alpa variant, first reported from the UK. Among the four variants reported so far — Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Delta is believed to be more virulent.

What are the changes in symptoms?

Lara Herrero wrote a runny nose is a new symptom that might be caused by the Delta variant as it was rarely reported as a symptom in earlier data, while loss of smell that was quite common earlier ranks ninth now. According to her, the current top five symptoms of Covid-19 are:

  1. Headache
  2. Sore throat
  3. Runny nose
  4. Fever
  5. Persistent cough.

Why have the symptoms changed?

The research highlighted several possible reasons behind this change, including that of the evolution of the virus. But she also takes into account that these mild symptoms are possibly reported by younger people as senior citizens in the United Kingdom are now mostly covered by vaccination.

“Humans are dynamic. With our differences come different immune systems. This means the same virus can produce different signs and symptoms in different ways. A sign is something that’s seen, such as a rash. A symptom is something that’s felt, like a sore throat…So when we talk about the signs and symptoms of a virus, we’re referring to what is most common. To ascertain this, we have to collect information from individual cases,” the researcher said.

Delta in India

The second wave of the pandemic in India in April-May has been attributed largely to the Delta variant. About 174 districts in 35 states of the country have reported Delta variants. States have now reported a new variant of Delta which is Delta Plus. (With Agency inputs)