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EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296887


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.

Nat Commun ; 12(1): 5705, 2021 09 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1442779


COVID-19 transmission rates are often linked to locally circulating strains of SARS-CoV-2. Here we describe 203 SARS-CoV-2 whole genome sequences analyzed from strains circulating in Rwanda from May 2020 to February 2021. In particular, we report a shift in variant distribution towards the emerging sub-lineage A.23.1 that is currently dominating. Furthermore, we report the detection of the first Rwandan cases of the B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 variants of concern among incoming travelers tested at Kigali International Airport. To assess the importance of viral introductions from neighboring countries and local transmission, we exploit available individual travel history metadata to inform spatio-temporal phylogeographic inference, enabling us to take into account infections from unsampled locations. We uncover an important role of neighboring countries in seeding introductions into Rwanda, including those from which no genomic sequences were available. Our results highlight the importance of systematic genomic surveillance and regional collaborations for a durable response towards combating COVID-19.

COVID-19/virology , Genome, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Travel-Related Illness , Adult , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Epidemiological Monitoring , Female , Humans , Male , Phylogeny , Phylogeography , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , Rwanda/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Whole Genome Sequencing
Nat Microbiol ; 6(1): 112-122, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-989837


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was first diagnosed in Scotland on 1 March 2020. During the first month of the outbreak, 2,641 cases of COVID-19 led to 1,832 hospital admissions, 207 intensive care admissions and 126 deaths. We aimed to identify the source and number of introductions of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) into Scotland using a combined phylogenetic and epidemiological approach. Sequencing of 1,314 SARS-CoV-2 viral genomes from available patient samples enabled us to estimate that SARS-CoV-2 was introduced to Scotland on at least 283 occasions during February and March 2020. Epidemiological analysis confirmed that early introductions of SARS-CoV-2 originated from mainland Europe (the majority from Italy and Spain). We identified subsequent early outbreaks in the community, within healthcare facilities and at an international conference. Community transmission occurred after 2 March, 3 weeks before control measures were introduced. Earlier travel restrictions or quarantine measures, both locally and internationally, would have reduced the number of COVID-19 cases in Scotland. The risk of multiple reintroduction events in future waves of infection remains high in the absence of population immunity.

COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Adult , Aged , Europe/epidemiology , Genome, Viral , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Molecular Epidemiology , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spain/epidemiology , Travel/statistics & numerical data