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Cell ; 2023.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-20243675


The Alpha, Beta and Gamma SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern (VOCs) co-circulated globally during 2020-21, fueling waves of infections. They were displaced by Delta during a third wave worldwide in 2021, in turn displaced by Omicron in late 2021. In this study, we use phylogenetic and phylogeographic methods to reconstruct the dispersal patterns of VOCs worldwide. We find that source-sink dynamics varied substantially by VOC, and identify countries that acted as global and regional hubs of dissemination. We demonstrate a declining role of presumed origin countries of VOCs to their global dispersal, estimating that India contributed <15% of Delta exports and South Africa <1-2% of Omicron dispersal. We estimate that >80 countries had received introductions of Omicron within 100 days of emergence, associated with accelerating passenger air travel and higher transmissibility. Our study highlights the rapid dispersal of highly transmissible variants with implications for genomic surveillance along the hierarchical airline network. Graphical Data analysis clarifies that dispersal of SARS-CoV-2 variants from their sites of initial detection was related to the amount of global air travel at the time of the variant's emergence, and that travel volume through "hub” sites distinct from the site of emergence was a key driver of variant spread.

Science ; 372(6544): 815-821, 2021 05 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1186201


Cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in Manaus, Brazil, resurged in late 2020 despite previously high levels of infection. Genome sequencing of viruses sampled in Manaus between November 2020 and January 2021 revealed the emergence and circulation of a novel SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern. Lineage P.1 acquired 17 mutations, including a trio in the spike protein (K417T, E484K, and N501Y) associated with increased binding to the human ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2) receptor. Molecular clock analysis shows that P.1 emergence occurred around mid-November 2020 and was preceded by a period of faster molecular evolution. Using a two-category dynamical model that integrates genomic and mortality data, we estimate that P.1 may be 1.7- to 2.4-fold more transmissible and that previous (non-P.1) infection provides 54 to 79% of the protection against infection with P.1 that it provides against non-P.1 lineages. Enhanced global genomic surveillance of variants of concern, which may exhibit increased transmissibility and/or immune evasion, is critical to accelerate pandemic responsiveness.

COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Communicable Diseases, Emerging/epidemiology , Communicable Diseases, Emerging/virology , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Brazil/epidemiology , Epidemiological Monitoring , Genome, Viral , Genomics , Humans , Models, Theoretical , Molecular Epidemiology , Mutation , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Load