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researchsquare; 2021.


One of the most remarkable features of the SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern (VOC) is the unusually large number of mutations they carry. However, the specific factors that drove the emergence of such variants since the second half of 2020 are not fully resolved. In this study, we described a new SARS-CoV-2 lineage provisionally designated as P.1-like-II that, as well as the previously described lineage P.1-like-I, shares several lineage-defining mutations with the VOC P.1 circulating in Brazil. Reconstructions of P.1 ancestor sequences demonstrate that the entire constellation of mutations that define the VOC P.1 did not accumulate within a single long-term infected individual, but was acquired by sequential addition during interhost transmissions. Our evolutionary analyses further estimate that P.1-ancestors strains carrying half of the P.1-lineage-defining mutations, including those at the receptor-binding domain of the Spike protein, circulated cryptically in the Amazonas state since August 2020. This evolutionary pattern is consistent with the hypothesis that partial human population immunity acquired from natural SARS-CoV-2 infections during the first half of 2020 might have been the major driving force behind natural selection that allowed VOCs' emergence and worldwide spread. These findings also support a long lag-time between the emergence of variants with key mutations of concern and expansion of the VOC P.1 in Brazil.

medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.03.19.21253946


Mutations at both the receptor-binding domain (RBD) and the amino (N)-terminal domain (NTD) of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) glycoprotein can alter its antigenicity and promote immune escape. We identified that SARS-CoV-2 lineages circulating in Brazil with mutations of concern in the RBD independently acquired convergent deletions and insertions in the NTD of the S protein, which altered the NTD antigenic-supersite and other predicted epitopes at this region. These findings support that the ongoing widespread transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Brazil is generating new viral lineages that might be more resistant to neutralization than parental variants of concern.

biorxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.04.30.069039


Genomic surveillance has become a useful tool for better understanding virus pathogenicity, origin and spread. Obtaining accurately assembled, complete viral genomes directly from clinical samples is still a challenging. Here, we describe three protocols using a unique primer set designed to recover long reads of SARS-CoV-2 directly from total RNA extracted from clinical samples. This protocol is useful, accessible and adaptable to laboratories with varying resources and access to distinct sequencing methods: Nanopore, Illumina and/or Sanger.