New research suggests that those who suspect they are suffering from Covid virus symptoms, even if the test is negative, will be more inclined to show signs. 

A research team from the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale – the French National Institute of Health – found that those who believed they had Covid were up to 16 times likely to experience symptoms as a person without the virus, and eight times as likely as someone confirmed to have had Covid.

Anosmia (loss of sense of smell) was the only symptom that COVID-19 patients with confirmed cases had. 

According to our team, medical personnel may not wish to attribute all possible Covid symptoms to the virus and instead should screen for potential other causes. 

Scientists also think that, because symptoms can be reported by people who have not had the virus before, it is possible for some to incorrectly diagnose ‘long Covid.   

Researchers found that people who believe they have Covid but did not confirm it via labratory results are most likely to report persistent symptoms of the virus than those with a confirmed positive test. Pictured: A Fort Worth, Texas, official prepares a COVID-19 test

Research has shown that those who think they may have Covid, but do not receive labratory test results to confirm their belief are more likely to experience persistent symptoms than people with confirmed positive tests. Photo: Official in Fort Worth, Texas prepares the COVID-19 test

More than 26,000 individuals were part of the research team that published its findings Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Two groups were formed: One for serologic testing, and one for self-reported tests.

Participants in the serologic study gave blood samples to researchers. They then ran an antibody test to see if they had ever been diagnosed with Covid.

Participants from the other group were only asked whether they have ever been diagnosed with Covid.

The data was filtered out of those who answered ‘yes’, but did not have a lab confirmed test. This group included only people who believe they were infected with the virus.

Next, participants were asked whether or not they suffered common Covid symptoms like anosmia (joint pain), fatigue, difficulty sleeping and other symptoms.  

The researchers found that those who believe they have Covid were the most susceptible to experiencing persistent symptoms.

A person with a suspected case of the disease was five times more likely to get a cold than someone without a confirmed lab case.

The Covid cases were five times more likely than average to cause heart palpitations and nearly eight times as likely as to suffer from difficulty breathing. Participants who had chest pains or felt them in the past six months were almost six times more likely than those without an actual Covid case.

Confirmed Covid cases did not increase the risk for any of these risks.

Anosmia is the most common symptom in people with confirmed cases. Participants without confirmed cases are still at eight times greater risk.

“Persistent physical signs ten- to twelve months after the COVID-19 first wave was declared were more likely due to the belief that COVID-19 had been contracted than having lab-confirmed. [Covid]Researchers wrote that infection is a real problem.

Research cannot confirm why this is the case.

Physicians misdiagnosing people with chronic problems in the last few months as suffering from ‘long Covid’ could also be a factor. This is a condition that causes a patient to feel symptoms for several months following recovery.  

The research team wrote that “most previous studies on long COVID” only included patients with COVID-19 infections, so there was no control group.

It is possible that there could be a selection bias effect. People who have the symptoms of the disease may not have gone to the doctor.

The study excluded all those who went to be tested. This left a group of people with mild cases who never got tested.

Researchers urge physicians to screen patients who have chronic conditions more carefully.