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The two most common symptoms of coronavirus have changed since the pandemic began, a new study claims.

For more than a year, medics have been warning people to look out for a new cough, a high temperature and a loss of smell as the most common signs of the virus.

But new data shows the advice could be outdated which means undiagnosed people could be unknowingly spreading the virus.

According to the ZOE Covid Symptom Study, if you are under the age of 40 the most common symptoms are now a sore throat, headache and a runny nose.

For those who are over 40 the signs to look out for are a headache, runny nose and sneezing.

The two most common symptoms of coronavirus have changed (stock image)
(Image: Getty Images)

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The news comes as a leading professor claims the Delta variant, first identified in India, seems to “working slightly differently” to other strains.

But this could also be because the virus is currently causing an epidemic in young people and symptoms vary according to age.

ZOE study has been tracking the outbreak since the first lockdown began in March 2020 by using data from millions of Brits who report their systems through an app.

For more than a year, medics have been warning people to look out for a new cough (stock image)
(Image: Getty Images)

Prof Tim Spector, the lead on the study, told The Telegraph : “Since the start of May, we’ve been looking at the top symptoms and they are not the same as they were.

“This variant seems to be working slightly differently.”

The most common sign is a headache which has affected 66 per cent of under 40s and 53 per cent of over 40s.

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The Covid jab means those over 40 display less signs of having the virus now and their most common signs are very mild but none are the classic three of a cough, fever, or loss of smell.

The app has also recently discovered a loss of taste or smell is no longer in the top 10 symptoms.

Prof Spector fears that many young people may be undiagnosed and spreading the virus further due to a shift in the symptoms as cases are highest and fastest growing in people in their 20s.

Prof Spector fears that many young people may be undiagnosed (stock image)
(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Data from Public Health England shows cases have doubled in this age group, from 54 to 121 cases per 100,000 people.

The NHS currently advises that you get a free Covid test if you have at least one of the three main symptoms of cough, temperature and loss of taste/smell.

But some medics, including Prof Spector, have been calling for the list to be expanded which means infected people can be diagnosed which will curb the spread of the virus.

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Prof Spector said “Covid is acting differently now it’s more like a cold in this younger population and people aren’t realising this, and people might think they’ve got some sort of seasonal cold and they still go out to parties and they might spread it around.”

Within a few weeks the Delta Covid variant has spread rapidly and has been cited for putting back 'Freedom Day' from June 21 to a new proposed date of July 19.

Boris Johnson took the decision after scientists warned pushing ahead risked a surge in hospital cases as bad as the first wave last April.

Prof Spector said Covid is acting differently now (stock image)
(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

He said he was "so concerned" that the Delta strain was "spreading faster than the third wave predicted in the February roadmap."

Back then, scientists had predicted more than 30,000 further Covid deaths between February 2021 and summer 2022.

But the government has now received advice that the Delta (Indian) variant is between 40% and 80% more transmissible than the Alpha (Kent) strain – much higher than first thought.

Hours before the lockdown delays were announced people living in Birmingham, Blackpool, Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Liverpool City Region were urged not to travel.

Anyone living in those areas is being urged not to travel.

Dr Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency, warned: “The Delta variant is now the dominant strain across the UK, with cases continuing to rise in some areas.

“Getting the vaccine gives a strong level of protection against this variant and I strongly recommend that everyone gets both jabs when the NHS invites you – it will protect you and your loved ones.”

Within a few weeks the Delta Covid variant has spread rapidly (stock image)
(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The government is bringing forward its target for vaccinating all adults in England by two weeks.

At present, all over-18s in England are due to have their first dose by July 31, but with warnings of a third wave looming ahead, the new target will now be July 19.

Meanwhile, all over-40s in England will also be offered a second dose by July 19 at the latest.

To achieve this, all over-40s will be offered their second dose eight weeks after their first – not 12 weeks, as is the case now.