People with common colds testing positive for Covid-19 may simply be asymptomatic cases, experts reveal

People with common colds who are testing positive for Covid-19 may simply be asymptomatic cases, experts have said.

Trademark symptoms of seasonal flu could be mistaken for symptoms of Covid-19 if the individual tests positive for the virus, it is claimed.

More than eight in ten people who test positive for coronavirus show none of the main symptoms at the time they are tested, a major study by UCL previously revealed.

However, those who test positive when they have cold symptoms may mistake them as being a part of the virus – adding to fears that it is taking a new guise as fresh strains emerge.

Caroline Relton, professor of epigenetic epidemiology at the University of Bristol, said the link being made between common cold symptoms and Covid-19 it is likely to be a feature of increased testing.

"Given the usual colds and respiratory infections seen more frequently in winter months it is unsurprising that people are seeking Covid-19 tests to check whether these may be related to this virus," she told The Telegraph.

"It is likely that these tests are revealing what would otherwise be asymptomatic infection (left undetected as it is not possible to seek a test in the absence of the main symptoms). I think this explanation is much more likely than SARS-CoV-2 evolving to have symptoms more like the common cold."

Evan Kontopantelis, professor of data science & health services research at the University of Manchester, agreed: "We have already seen mutations but I haven’t seen any evidence on mutations with milder/different symptoms.

"So if I had to pick one I’d go with asymptomatic cases happening to have a cold as well -certainly plausible considering the weather currently."

However, others suggested it is possible the virus is evolving and manifesting itself as the common cold in some people.

Lawrence Young, a professor of molecular oncology at the University of Warwick, said: “It is possible that the UK variant is associated with different/milder symptoms. We need more data.  We don’t know whether the UK variant affects the levels of asymptomatic infection or disease severity. It is possible that the virus will change over time to become less pathogenic.”

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