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1.
Virus Evol ; 8(1): veac023, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1795112

ABSTRACT

COG-UK Mutation Explorer (COG-UK-ME, https://sars2.cvr.gla.ac.uk/cog-uk/-last accessed date 16 March 2022) is a web resource that displays knowledge and analyses on SARS-CoV-2 virus genome mutations and variants circulating in the UK, with a focus on the observed amino acid replacements that have an antigenic role in the context of the human humoral and cellular immune response. This analysis is based on more than 2 million genome sequences (as of March 2022) for UK SARS-CoV-2 data held in the CLIMB-COVID centralised data environment. COG-UK-ME curates these data and displays analyses that are cross-referenced to experimental data collated from the primary literature. The aim is to track mutations of immunological importance that are accumulating in current variants of concern and variants of interest that could alter the neutralising activity of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), convalescent sera, and vaccines. Changes in epitopes recognised by T cells, including those where reduced T cell binding has been demonstrated, are reported. Mutations that have been shown to confer SARS-CoV-2 resistance to antiviral drugs are also included. Using visualisation tools, COG-UK-ME also allows users to identify the emergence of variants carrying mutations that could decrease the neutralising activity of both mAbs present in therapeutic cocktails, e.g. Ronapreve. COG-UK-ME tracks changes in the frequency of combinations of mutations and brings together the curated literature on the impact of those mutations on various functional aspects of the virus and therapeutics. Given the unpredictable nature of SARS-CoV-2 as exemplified by yet another variant of concern, Omicron, continued surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 remains imperative to monitor virus evolution linked to the efficacy of therapeutics.

2.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-329658

ABSTRACT

The first SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern (VOC) to be designated was lineage B.1.1.7, later labelled by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as Alpha. Originating in early Autumn but discovered in December 2020, it spread rapidly and caused large waves of infections worldwide. The Alpha variant is notable for being defined by a long ancestral phylogenetic branch with an increased evolutionary rate, along which only two sequences have been sampled. Alpha genomes comprise a well-supported monophyletic clade within which the evolutionary rate is more typical of SARS-CoV-2. The Alpha epidemic continued to grow despite the continued restrictions on social mixing across the UK, and the imposition of new restrictions, in particular the English national lockdown in November 2020. While these interventions succeeded in reducing the absolute number of cases, the impact of these non-pharmaceutical interventions was predominantly to drive the decline of the SARS-CoV-2 lineages which preceded Alpha. We investigate the only two sampled sequences that fall on the branch ancestral to Alpha. We find that one is likely to be a true intermediate sequence, providing information about the order of mutational events that led to Alpha. We explore alternate hypotheses that can explain how Alpha acquired a large number of mutations yet remained largely unobserved in a region of high genomic surveillance: an under-sampled geographical location, a non-human animal population, or a chronically-infected individual. We conclude that the last hypothesis provides the best explanation of the observed behaviour and dynamics of the variant, although we find that the individual need not be immunocompromised, as persistently-infected immunocompetent hosts also display a higher within-host rate of evolution. Finally, we compare the ancestral branches and mutation profiles of other VOCs to each other, and identify that Delta appears to be an outlier both in terms of the genomic locations of its defining mutations, and its lack of rapid evolutionary rate on the ancestral branch. As new variants, such as Omicron, continue to evolve (potentially through similar mechanisms) it remains important to investigate the origins of other variants to identify ways to potentially disrupt their evolution and emergence.

3.
Nature ; 603(7902): 679-686, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1638766

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in southern Africa has been characterized by three distinct waves. The first was associated with a mix of SARS-CoV-2 lineages, while the second and third waves were driven by the Beta (B.1.351) and Delta (B.1.617.2) variants, respectively1-3. In November 2021, genomic surveillance teams in South Africa and Botswana detected a new SARS-CoV-2 variant associated with a rapid resurgence of infections in Gauteng province, South Africa. Within three days of the first genome being uploaded, it was designated a variant of concern (Omicron, B.1.1.529) by the World Health Organization and, within three weeks, had been identified in 87 countries. The Omicron variant is exceptional for carrying over 30 mutations in the spike glycoprotein, which are predicted to influence antibody neutralization and spike function4. Here we describe the genomic profile and early transmission dynamics of Omicron, highlighting the rapid spread in regions with high levels of population immunity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Immune Evasion , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Botswana/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/transmission , Humans , Models, Molecular , Mutation , Phylogeny , Recombination, Genetic , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , South Africa/epidemiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
4.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296887

ABSTRACT

The scale of data produced during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has been unprecedented, with more than 5 million sequences shared publicly at the time of writing. This wealth of sequence data provides important context for interpreting local outbreaks. However, placing sequences of interest into national and international context is difficult given the size of the global dataset. Often outbreak investigations and genomic surveillance efforts require running similar analyses again and again on the latest dataset and producing reports. We developed civet (cluster investigation and virus epidemiology tool) to aid these routine analyses and facilitate virus outbreak investigation and surveillance. Civet can place sequences of interest in the local context of background diversity, resolving the query into different ’catchments’ and presenting the phylogenetic results alongside metadata in an interactive, distributable report. Civet can be used on a fine scale for clinical outbreak investigation, for local surveillance and cluster discovery, and to routinely summarise the virus diversity circulating on a national level. Civet reports have helped researchers and public health bodies feedback genomic information in the appropriate context within a timeframe that is useful for public health.

5.
Virus Evol ; 7(2): veab064, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1413298

ABSTRACT

The response of the global virus genomics community to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has been unprecedented, with significant advances made towards the 'real-time' generation and sharing of SARS-CoV-2 genomic data. The rapid growth in virus genome data production has necessitated the development of new analytical methods that can deal with orders of magnitude of more genomes than previously available. Here, we present and describe Phylogenetic Assignment of Named Global Outbreak Lineages (pangolin), a computational tool that has been developed to assign the most likely lineage to a given SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence according to the Pango dynamic lineage nomenclature scheme. To date, nearly two million virus genomes have been submitted to the web-application implementation of pangolin, which has facilitated the SARS-CoV-2 genomic epidemiology and provided researchers with access to actionable information about the pandemic's transmission lineages.

6.
Cell ; 184(20): 5179-5188.e8, 2021 09 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1401294

ABSTRACT

We present evidence for multiple independent origins of recombinant SARS-CoV-2 viruses sampled from late 2020 and early 2021 in the United Kingdom. Their genomes carry single-nucleotide polymorphisms and deletions that are characteristic of the B.1.1.7 variant of concern but lack the full complement of lineage-defining mutations. Instead, the remainder of their genomes share contiguous genetic variation with non-B.1.1.7 viruses circulating in the same geographic area at the same time as the recombinants. In four instances, there was evidence for onward transmission of a recombinant-origin virus, including one transmission cluster of 45 sequenced cases over the course of 2 months. The inferred genomic locations of recombination breakpoints suggest that every community-transmitted recombinant virus inherited its spike region from a B.1.1.7 parental virus, consistent with a transmission advantage for B.1.1.7's set of mutations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Pandemics , Recombination, Genetic , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Base Sequence/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Computational Biology/methods , Gene Frequency , Genome, Viral , Genotype , Humans , Mutation , Phylogeny , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , United Kingdom/epidemiology , Whole Genome Sequencing/methods
7.
Science ; 373(6557): 889-895, 2021 08 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1322770

ABSTRACT

Understanding the causes and consequences of the emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern is crucial to pandemic control yet difficult to achieve because they arise in the context of variable human behavior and immunity. We investigated the spatial invasion dynamics of lineage B.1.1.7 by jointly analyzing UK human mobility, virus genomes, and community-based polymerase chain reaction data. We identified a multistage spatial invasion process in which early B.1.1.7 growth rates were associated with mobility and asymmetric lineage export from a dominant source location, enhancing the effects of B.1.1.7's increased intrinsic transmissibility. We further explored how B.1.1.7 spread was shaped by nonpharmaceutical interventions and spatial variation in previous attack rates. Our findings show that careful accounting of the behavioral and epidemiological context within which variants of concern emerge is necessary to interpret correctly their observed relative growth rates.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , Communicable Disease Control , Genome, Viral , Humans , Incidence , Phylogeography , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spatio-Temporal Analysis , Travel , United Kingdom/epidemiology
8.
Genome Biol ; 22(1): 196, 2021 07 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1295478

ABSTRACT

In response to the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in the UK, the COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium was formed to rapidly sequence SARS-CoV-2 genomes as part of a national-scale genomic surveillance strategy. The network consists of universities, academic institutes, regional sequencing centres and the four UK Public Health Agencies. We describe the development and deployment of CLIMB-COVID, an encompassing digital infrastructure to address the challenge of collecting and integrating both genomic sequencing data and sample-associated metadata produced across the COG-UK network.


Subject(s)
Cloud Computing , Genomics/organization & administration , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Epidemiological Monitoring , Genome, Viral , Humans , Sequence Analysis, DNA , United Kingdom , User-Computer Interface , Whole Genome Sequencing
9.
Science ; 371(6530): 708-712, 2021 02 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066806

ABSTRACT

The United Kingdom's COVID-19 epidemic during early 2020 was one of world's largest and was unusually well represented by virus genomic sampling. We determined the fine-scale genetic lineage structure of this epidemic through analysis of 50,887 severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) genomes, including 26,181 from the UK sampled throughout the country's first wave of infection. Using large-scale phylogenetic analyses combined with epidemiological and travel data, we quantified the size, spatiotemporal origins, and persistence of genetically distinct UK transmission lineages. Rapid fluctuations in virus importation rates resulted in >1000 lineages; those introduced prior to national lockdown tended to be larger and more dispersed. Lineage importation and regional lineage diversity declined after lockdown, whereas lineage elimination was size-dependent. We discuss the implications of our genetic perspective on transmission dynamics for COVID-19 epidemiology and control.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Genome, Viral , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Chain of Infection , Communicable Disease Control , Communicable Diseases, Imported/epidemiology , Communicable Diseases, Imported/virology , Epidemics , Humans , Phylogeny , Travel , United Kingdom/epidemiology
10.
Cell ; 184(1): 64-75.e11, 2021 01 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1064909

ABSTRACT

Global dispersal and increasing frequency of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein variant D614G are suggestive of a selective advantage but may also be due to a random founder effect. We investigate the hypothesis for positive selection of spike D614G in the United Kingdom using more than 25,000 whole genome SARS-CoV-2 sequences. Despite the availability of a large dataset, well represented by both spike 614 variants, not all approaches showed a conclusive signal of positive selection. Population genetic analysis indicates that 614G increases in frequency relative to 614D in a manner consistent with a selective advantage. We do not find any indication that patients infected with the spike 614G variant have higher COVID-19 mortality or clinical severity, but 614G is associated with higher viral load and younger age of patients. Significant differences in growth and size of 614G phylogenetic clusters indicate a need for continued study of this variant.


Subject(s)
Amino Acid Substitution , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Aspartic Acid/analysis , Aspartic Acid/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Genome, Viral , Glycine/analysis , Glycine/genetics , Humans , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , United Kingdom/epidemiology , Virulence , Whole Genome Sequencing
11.
Cell ; 184(5): 1171-1187.e20, 2021 03 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1051523

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 can mutate and evade immunity, with consequences for efficacy of emerging vaccines and antibody therapeutics. Here, we demonstrate that the immunodominant SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) receptor binding motif (RBM) is a highly variable region of S and provide epidemiological, clinical, and molecular characterization of a prevalent, sentinel RBM mutation, N439K. We demonstrate N439K S protein has enhanced binding affinity to the hACE2 receptor, and N439K viruses have similar in vitro replication fitness and cause infections with similar clinical outcomes as compared to wild type. We show the N439K mutation confers resistance against several neutralizing monoclonal antibodies, including one authorized for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and reduces the activity of some polyclonal sera from persons recovered from infection. Immune evasion mutations that maintain virulence and fitness such as N439K can emerge within SARS-CoV-2 S, highlighting the need for ongoing molecular surveillance to guide development and usage of vaccines and therapeutics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Genetic Fitness , Immune Evasion , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Antibodies, Neutralizing/genetics , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Mutation , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Virulence
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