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Nat Commun ; 13(1): 3645, 2022 06 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1908172


Recombination is an evolutionary process by which many pathogens generate diversity and acquire novel functions. Although a common occurrence during coronavirus replication, detection of recombination is only feasible when genetically distinct viruses contemporaneously infect the same host. Here, we identify an instance of SARS-CoV-2 superinfection, whereby an individual was infected with two distinct viral variants: Alpha (B.1.1.7) and Epsilon (B.1.429). This superinfection was first noted when an Alpha genome sequence failed to exhibit the classic S gene target failure behavior used to track this variant. Full genome sequencing from four independent extracts reveals that Alpha variant alleles comprise around 75% of the genomes, whereas the Epsilon variant alleles comprise around 20% of the sample. Further investigation reveals the presence of numerous recombinant haplotypes spanning the genome, specifically in the spike, nucleocapsid, and ORF 8 coding regions. These findings support the potential for recombination to reshape SARS-CoV-2 genetic diversity.

COVID-19 , Superinfection , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , New York City/epidemiology , Recombination, Genetic , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep ; 70(19): 712-716, 2021 May 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1227231


Recent studies have documented the emergence and rapid growth of B.1.526, a novel variant of interest (VOI) of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in the New York City (NYC) area after its identification in NYC in November 2020 (1-3). Two predominant subclades within the B.1.526 lineage have been identified, one containing the E484K mutation in the receptor-binding domain (1,2), which attenuates in vitro neutralization by multiple SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and is present in variants of concern (VOCs) first identified in South Africa (B.1.351) (4) and Brazil (P.1).* The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) analyzed laboratory and epidemiologic data to characterize cases of B.1.526 infection, including illness severity, transmission to close contacts, rates of possible reinfection, and laboratory-diagnosed breakthrough infections among vaccinated persons. Preliminary data suggest that the B.1.526 variant does not lead to more severe disease and is not associated with increased risk for infection after vaccination (breakthrough infection) or reinfection. Because relatively few specimens were sequenced over the study period, the statistical power might have been insufficient to detect modest differences in rates of uncommon outcomes such as breakthrough infection or reinfection. Collection of timely viral genomic data for a larger proportion of citywide cases and rapid integration with population-based surveillance data would enable improved understanding of the impact of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants and specific mutations to help guide public health intervention efforts.

COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Middle Aged , New York City/epidemiology , Young Adult