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Omicron variant symptoms resemble another major virus, doctor says

A long COVID expert said that the omicron variant symptoms are similar to another virus

A researcher at the Africa Health Research Institute in Durban, South Africa, works on the omicron variant.
Sandile Cele, a researcher at the Africa Health Research Institute in Durban, South Africa, works on the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus Wednesday Dec. 15, 2021.
Jerome Delay, Associated Press

So far, COVID-19 symptoms from the omicron variant of the coronavirus have been different compared to previous coronavirus variants, according to Dr. Bruce Patterson, who works for single cell diagnostic company IncellDx and the Chronic Covid Treatment Center.

Patterson, who is a long-haul COVID expert, told me that “the one thing that’s always present with COVID is fatigue” with COVID-19 patients, and that includes the omicron patients he has seen so far.

But, Patterson said, he has not seen as much of a loss of taste and smell compared to the previous variants.

  • “I haven’t seen a lot of the tremendous shortness of breath. I’m seeing a lot of headaches. You know, sniffles, things like that just kind of general cold-like symptoms, but with the massive fatigue”

Patterson said that the omicron variant has looked similar to a virus called parainfluenza. He said he used to see patients who were overly tired but did not have fevers. But they would have a small cough.

  • “That’s human parainfluenza virus,” he said. “No questions asked. So it’s kind of like that. But no, you don’t we’re not seeing the shortness of breath and the loss of taste and smell as much.”

So far, there has been anecdotal data about the omicron variant symptoms. A doctor in the United Kingdom recently said night sweats are a common omicron variant symptom.

  • The night sweats are “those kind of drenching night sweats where you might have to get up and change your clothes,” said Dr. Amir Khan, a physician with the U.K.’s National Health Service.
  • “This is important, and it’s important that we keep on top of these symptoms,” he told The Sun. “If we are going to track Omicron and track it worldwide, we need to be able to test people with these symptoms.