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The Evolving Symptoms of Covid-19 Across Different Variants

TV broadcaster Mehdi Hasan recently shared his mild Covid-19 experience, reflecting the increasing prevalence of the JN.1 variant, identified last September in France.
Data from the US CDC and the UK Health Security Agency reveals a rise in cases but lower hospitalization and death rates. Distinct Covid symptoms are now harder to differentiate from the flu without a PCR test.

GP Ziad Tukmachi notes the change from unique symptoms like brain fog to more flu-like ones. Epidemiologists, however, caution that the virus's pathogenic nature isn't necessarily diminishing.

Instead, according to Professor Greg Towers, the population's immunity from prior exposure and vaccinations is playing a significant role in response to the virus.

The complex interaction of factors such as reinfection, vaccination, and declining immunity affects individuals differently, says Denis Nash, an epidemiologist. Unvaccinated "Covid-näive" individuals face the highest risk of severe symptoms.

Sars-CoV-2 continues to mutate, altering how it invades the human body, with recent subvariants showing less impact on taste and smell and potentially causing more digestive issues and headaches. Towers highlights changes in the spike protein, impacting the virus's transmission and host cell infection.

Researchers are investigating if the new variants have unique consequences, such as kidney damage indicated by David Strain's observations. Micro clots associated with Long Covid are a growing concern, potentially aggravated by the JN.1 variant, but it's difficult to discern if this is due to the variant or reduced immunity from waning vaccine effects.

Danny Altmann of Imperial College London emphasizes the reduced risk of Long Covid due to vaccinations, underscoring the importance of booster shots. While there is a push to return to normalcy, Strain argues for continued monitoring of Covid's evolution.

Regarding "Covid toe," a peculiar early symptom involving lesions on feet and hands, researchers have ruled out direct viral infection. The cause may be an excessive immune response, preexisting chilblain susceptibility, or changes in footwear habits during lockdown.

With the virus's evolution and less restrictive living conditions, reports of "Covid toe" have diminished, as noted by King College London's research.

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