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Nat Commun ; 13(1): 2494, 2022 05 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1890179


The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the fastest evolving pandemics in recent history. As such, the SARS-CoV-2 viral evolution needs to be continuously tracked. This study sequenced 1123 SARS-CoV-2 genomes from patient isolates (121 from arriving travellers and 1002 from communities) to track the molecular evolution and spatio-temporal dynamics of the SARS-CoV-2 variants in Ghana. The data show that initial local transmission was dominated by B.1.1 lineage, but the second wave was overwhelmingly driven by the Alpha variant. Subsequently, an unheralded variant under monitoring, B.1.1.318, dominated transmission from April to June 2021 before being displaced by Delta variants, which were introduced into community transmission in May 2021. Mutational analysis indicated that variants that took hold in Ghana harboured transmission enhancing and immune escape spike substitutions. The observed rapid viral evolution demonstrates the potential for emergence of novel variants with greater mutational fitness as observed in other parts of the world.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Genome, Viral/genetics , Ghana/epidemiology , Humans , Mutation , Pandemics , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
PLoS One ; 16(7): e0253758, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1315885


BACKGROUND: Governments across the globe responded with different strategies to the COVID-19 pandemic. While some countries adopted measures, which have been perceived controversial, others pursued a strategy aiming for herd immunity. The latter is even more controversial and has been called unethical by the WHO Director-General. Inevitably, without proper control measures, viral diversity increases and multiple infectious exposures become common, when the pandemic reaches its maximum. This harbors not only a potential threat overseen by simplified theoretical arguments in support of herd immunity, but also deserves attention when assessing response measures to increasing numbers of infection. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We extend the simulation model underlying the pandemic preparedness web interface CovidSim 1.1 ( to study the hypothetical effect of increased morbidity and mortality due to 'multi-infections', either acquired at by successive infective contacts during the course of one infection or by a single infective contact with a multi-infected individual. The simulations are adjusted to reflect roughly the situation in the USA. We assume a phase of general contact reduction ("lockdown") at the beginning of the epidemic and additional case-isolation measures. We study the hypothetical effects of varying enhancements in morbidity and mortality, different likelihoods of multi-infected individuals to spread multi-infections and different susceptibility to multi-infections in different disease phases. It is demonstrated that multi-infections lead to a slight reduction in the number of infections, as these are more likely to get isolated due to their higher morbidity. However, the latter substantially increases the number of deaths. Furthermore, simulations indicate that a potential second lockdown can substantially decrease the epidemic peak, the number of multi-infections and deaths. CONCLUSIONS: Enhanced morbidity and mortality due to multiple disease exposure is a potential threat in the COVID-19 pandemic that deserves more attention. Particularly it underlines another facet questioning disease management strategies aiming for herd immunity.

COVID-19/epidemiology , Disease Transmission, Infectious/statistics & numerical data , Immunity, Herd , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/transmission , Humans , Models, Statistical , Mortality/trends