Professor Tim Spector, co-founder of the ZOE Covid Symptoms Study, said recent data showed that the “classic” signs of having the virus had now changed with a headache, runny nose and a more frequent sore throat.
The study is the world’s largest ongoing study of the virus with more than four million people around the world recording information on symptoms, tests and vaccines.
All attendees tested positive for the virus, Sky News reports.
Professor Spector said a headache is now at the top of the list of the most common symptoms, with 60% of people having tested positive for the virus.
A runny nose and sore throat were also in the top three, and sneezing is number four, although they can be mistaken for hay fever.
A persistent cough was the only original “classic” symptom to make it into the top five.
The other two “classic” signs of fever and loss of smell and taste – occur at number seven and nine, respectively.
Professor Spector said: “It is time for the government, after a year and a half, to change the list of classic symptoms.
“We need a much broader flexible approach as the virus changes and populations change. “
The new data shows that the current “classic” list may mean that undiagnosed people could spread the virus without knowing it.
Professor Spector said: ‘Covid is acting differently now, it’s more like a cold in this younger population and people don’t realize it, and people might think they have some sort of seasonal cold and they always go to parties and they might spread it around you.
He also warned on Wednesday that the current wave of coronavirus infections “is expected to peak around 10 to 14 days.”
He said: “We are still seeing an increase in rates, around 15,000 cases per day is our estimate based on your reports, but the good news is that it is not increasing as fast as it used to be.
“I predicted it should peak in 10-14 days and then start to go down, so by four weeks we’re well below current level and something much more manageable.
“It’s if all is well,” he added.