The international review, which combined data from 148 separate studies, revealed that a persistent cough and fever are the most prevalent symptoms.
Other major symptoms include fatigue, losing the ability to smell and difficulty in breathing.
The study confirms the list of symptoms compiled by the World Health Organisation at the start of the pandemic.
In total, the study, published in the online journal PLoS One, found:
- Seventy eight [ never start a sentence with a number – can you amend the below into word pls? Also percent not per cent] per cent had a fever. Although this tended to vary across countries, with 72 percent of fever reported by patients in Singapore and 32 per cent in Korea.
- 57 per cent reported a cough. Again, this varied across countries, with 76 percent of patients reporting a cough in the Netherlands compared to 18 per cent in Korea.
- 31 per cent said they had suffered fatigue.
- 25 per cent lost the ability to smell.
- 23 percent reported difficulty breathing.
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The researchers believed the variation in the prevalence of symptoms between countries is due, in part, to the way data was collected.
Of those patients who needed hospital treatment, 17 percent needed non-invasive ventilation; 19 percent had to be looked after in an intensive care unit, nine percent required invasive ventilation and two percent needed extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (an artificial lung).
Michael Grant, a final year medical student from the University of Sheffield, who worked on the study, said: “The impact of COVID-19 on daily activities has been immense.
“An accurate estimation of symptom prevalence, as provided by this study, is essential to combat COVID-19”
He added: “As a medical student, it has been a tremendous opportunity and a great privilege to contribute to research that will be used to inform public health opinion.”
Mr Ryckie Wade, a surgeon and Clinical Research Fellow at the Leeds Institute of Medical Research, who supervised the research, said: “This analysis confirms that a cough and fever were the most common symptoms in people who tested positive with COVID-19.
“This is important because it ensures that people who are symptomatic can be quarantined.
“The study gives confidence to the fact that we have been right in identifying the main symptoms and it can help determine who should get tested.”
What should I do I recognise any of the above symptoms?
According to the NHS, you should self-isolate if you have any symptoms of coronavirus.
If you have symptoms, you should also get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible, advises the health body.
Furthermore, tell people you’ve been in close contact with that you have symptoms, it says.
Examples of close contact include:
- Close face to face contact (under one metre) for any length of time – including talking to them or coughing on them
- Being within one to two metres of each other for more than 15 minutes – including travelling in a small vehicle
- Spending lots of time in your home, such as cleaning it.