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Omicron Symptoms 'Cold-Like': What Does UK Study Say on COVID Variant?

Survey-based research carried out in UK reveals the predominant symptoms of Omicron. Here is all you need to know

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F.A.Q
3 min read
Omicron Symptoms 'Cold-Like': What Does UK Study Say on COVID Variant?
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A report based on United Kingdom-based 'ZOE Symptom Tracking Study', stated the symptoms of Omicron to be "cold-like."

The results were obtained through a survey conducted on hundreds of thousands of infected people in London – who were asked to describe their symptoms in ZOE COVID Study app.

What are the symptoms of the Omicron variant?

According to the ZOE Symptom Tracking Study in UK, the predominant symptoms of the Omicron variant are very “cold-like”.

The symptoms include:

  • Headache

  • Runny nose

  • Mild or severe fatigue

  • Sore throat

  • Sneezing

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How was this study done?

These results have been obtained through a survey conducted on hundreds of thousands of infected people in London who were asked to describe their symptoms in ZOE COVID Study app under the ZOE Symptom Tracking Study.

The predominant symptoms of Omicron have been identified by analysing the symptoms reported between 3 December and 10 December.

Amongst all the other cities in UK, London was selected for the study because of the large number of Omicron cases reported within the city.

Does this mean Omicron is milder?

We do not know for sure.

The first study, from Hong Kong found that within the first 24 hours of infection, Omicron multiplies 70 times faster than Delta in the respiratory tract, reported FIT. But, the infection in the lungs was found to be 10 times lower as compared to Delta, the study added.

"This last part could actually mean good news, but assuming the variant will cause less severe illness based solely on this may be dangerous," FIT explained.

However, ongoing studies also show that Omicron is more likely to escape vaccine immunity.

I have cold-like symptoms. Am I infected with Omicron?

If you notice symptoms like headache, runny nose, fatigue, etc., you must consult your doctor to take an RT-PCR test.

However, if you live in a high-risk area, or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, it is best to isolate yourself and then take a test.

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When should I take an COVID-19 test?

It is best to take an RT-PCR test if you:

  • Show symptoms like headache, runny nose, mild or severe fatigue, sore throat, and sneezing.

  • Have been in direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

  • Going to travel to a different state or to a different country.

  • Have travelled from a country with high number of COVID-19 cases.

Can a RT-PCR tell if I have Omicron?

No. The RT-PCR test looks for three parts of the virus spike (S), nucleocapsid (N2) and envelop (E). Therefore if the N2 and E are detected, but not S, then it means that it COULD BE omicron.

"Several labs have indicated that for one widely used PCR test, one of the three target genes is not detected (called S gene dropout), and this test can therefore be used as a marker for this variant, pending sequencing confirmation," the WHO statement said.

However, ICMR-approved RT-PCR kits do not target the S gene – that is, they do not look for the spike protein. Therefore, genome testing has to be done to ascertain if a person has Omicron variant of COVID-19.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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