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Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21266251


The SARS-CoV-2 Variant of Concern (VOC) Delta was first detected in India in October 2020. The first imported cases of the Delta variant in Brazil were identified in April 2021 in the Southern region, followed by more cases in different country regions during the following months. By early September 2021, Delta was already the dominant variant in the Southeastern (87%), Southern (73%), and Northeastern (52%) Brazilian regions. This work aimed to understand the spatiotemporal dissemination dynamics of Delta in Brazil. To this end, we employed a combination of Maximum Likelihood (ML) and Bayesian methods to reconstruct the evolutionary relationship of 2,264 of VOC Delta complete genomes (482 from this study) recovered across 21 out of 27 Brazilian federal units. Our phylogeographic analyses identified three major transmission clusters of Delta in Brazil. The clade BR-I (n = 1,560) arose in Rio de Janeiro in late April 2021 and was the major cluster behind the dissemination of the VOC Delta in the Southeastern, Northeastern, Northern, and Central-Western regions. The clade BR-II (n = 207) arose in the Parana state in late April 2021 and aggregated the largest fraction of sampled genomes from the Southern region. Lastly, the clade BR-III emerged in the Sao Paulo state in early June 2021 and remained mostly restricted to this state. In the rapid turnover of viral variants characteristic of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, Brazilian regions seem to occupy different stages of an increasing prevalence of the VOC Delta in their epidemic profiles. This process demands continuous genomic and epidemiological surveillance toward identifying and mitigating new introductions, limiting their dissemination, and preventing the establishment of more significant outbreaks in a population already heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21265116


The COVID-19 epidemic in Brazil experienced two major country-wide lineage replacements, the first driven by the lineage P.2, formerly classified as variant of interest (VOI) Zeta in late 2020 and the second by the variant of concern (VOC) Gamma in early 2021. To better understand how these SARS-CoV-2 lineage turnovers occurred in Brazil, we analyzed 11,724 high-quality SARS-CoV-2 whole genomes of samples collected in different country regions between September 2020 and April 2021. Our findings indicate that the spatial dispersion of both variants in Brazil was driven by short and long-distance viral transmission. The lineage P.2 harboring Spike mutation E484K probably emerged around late July 2020 in the Rio de Janeiro (RJ) state, which contributed with most ([~]50%) inter-state viral disseminations, and only became locally established in most Brazilian states by October 2020. The VOC Gamma probably arose in November 2020 in the Amazonas (AM) state, which was responsible for 60-70% of the inter-state viral dissemination, and the earliest timing of community transmission of this VOC in many Brazilian states was already traced to December 2020. We estimate that variant Gamma was 1.56-3.06 more transmissible than variant P.2 co-circulating in RJ and that the median effective reproductive number (Re) of Gamma in RJ and SP states (Re = 1.59-1.91) was lower than in AM (Re = 3.55). In summary, although the epicenter of the lineage P.2 dissemination in Brazil was the heavily interconnected Southeastern region, it displayed a slower rate of spatial spread than the VOC Gamma originated in the more isolated Northern Brazilian region. Our findings also support that the VOC Gamma was more transmissible than lineage P.2, although the viral Re of the VOC varied according to the geographic context.

Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21263755


The SARS-CoV-2 has infected almost 200 million people worldwide by July 2021 and the pandemic has been characterized by infection waves of viral lineages showing distinct fitness profiles. The simultaneous infection of a single individual by two distinct SARS-CoV-2 lineages provides a window of opportunity for viral recombination and the emergence of new lineages with differential phenotype. Several hundred SARS-CoV-2 lineages are currently well characterized but two main factors have precluded major coinfection/codetection analysis thus far: i) the low diversity of SARS-CoV-2 lineages during the first year of the pandemic which limited the identification of lineage defining mutations necessary to distinguish coinfecting viral lineages; and the ii) limited availability of raw sequencing data where abundance and distribution of intrasample/intrahost variability can be accessed. Here, we have put together a large sequencing dataset from Brazilian samples covering a period of 18 May 2020 to 30 April 2021 and probed it for unexpected patterns of high intrasample/intrahost variability. It enabled us to detect nine cases of SARS-CoV-2 coinfection with well characterized lineage-defining mutations. In addition, we matched these SARS-CoV-2 coinfections with spatio-temporal epidemiological data confirming their plausibility with the co-circulating lineages at the timeframe investigated. These coinfections represent around 0.61% of all samples investigated. Although our data suggests that coinfection with distinct SARS-CoV-2 lineages is a rare phenomenon, it is likely an underestimation and coinfection rates warrants further investigation. DATA SUMMARYThe raw fastq data of codetection cases are deposited on and correlated to gisaid codes: EPI_ISL_1068258, EPI_ISL_2491769, EPI_ISL_2491781, EPI_ISL_2645599, EPI_ISL_2661789, EPI_ISL_2661931, EPI_ISL_2677092, EPI_ISL_2777552, EPI_ISL_3869215. Supplementary data are available on The workflow code used in this study is publicly available on:

Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21263453


The Amazonas was one of the most heavily affected Brazilian states by the COVID-19 epidemic. Despite a large number of infected people, particularly during the second wave associated with the spread of the Variant of Concern (VOC) Gamma (lineage P.1), SARS-CoV-2 continues to circulate in the Amazonas. To understand how SARS-CoV-2 persisted in a human population with a high immunity barrier, we generated 1,188 SARS-CoV-2 whole-genome sequences from individuals diagnosed in the Amazonas state from 1st January to 6th July 2021, of which 38 were vaccine breakthrough infections. Our study reveals a sharp increase in the relative prevalence of Gamma plus (P.1+) variants, designated as Pango Lineages P.1.3 to P.1.6, harboring two types of additional Spike changes: deletions in the N-terminal (NTD) domain (particularly{Delta} 144 or{Delta} 141-144) associated with resistance to anti-NTD neutralizing antibodies or mutations at the S1/S2 junction (N679K or P681H) that probably enhance the binding affinity to the furin cleavage site, as suggested by our molecular dynamics simulations. As lineages P.1.4 (S:N679K) and P.1.6 (S:P681H) expanded (Re > 1) from March to July 2021, the lineage P.1 declined (Re < 1) and the median Ct value of SARS-CoV-2 positive cases in Amazonas significantly decreases. Still, we found no overrepresentation of P.1+ variants among breakthrough cases of fully vaccinated patients (71%) in comparison to unvaccinated individuals (93%). This evidence supports that the ongoing endemic transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the Amazonas is driven by the spread of new local Gamma/P.1 sub-lineages that are more transmissible, although not more efficient to evade vaccine-elicited immunity than the parental VOC. Finally, as SARS-CoV-2 continues to spread in human populations with a declining density of susceptible hosts, the risk of selecting new variants with higher infectivity are expected to increase.

Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21260471


With the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, the world faced an unprecedented need for RT-qPCR-based molecular diagnostic tests, leading to a lack of kits and inputs, especially in developing countries. Hence, the costs for commercial kits and inputs were overrated, stimulating the development of alternative methods to detect SARS-CoV-2 in clinical specimens. The availability of the complete SARS-CoV-2 genome at the beginning of the pandemic facilitated the development of specific primers and standardized laboratory protocols for Covid-19 molecular diagnostic. High-sensitive and cost-effective molecular biology technique based on the Melting Temperature differences between purine and pyrimidine bases can be used to the detection and genotyping of pathogens in clinical specimens. Here, a RT-qPCR assays with High Resolution Melting (HRM-RTqPCR) was developed for different regions of the SARS-CoV-2 genome (RdRp, E and N) and an internal control (human RNAse P gene). The assays were validated using synthetic sequences from the viral genome and clinical specimens (nasopharyngeal swabs, serum and saliva) of sixty-five patients with severe or moderate COVID-19 from different states in Brazil, in comparison to a commercial TaqMan RT-qPCR assay, as gold standard. The sensitivity of the HRM-RTqPCR assays targeting N, RdRp and E were 94.12, 98.04 and 92.16%, with 100% specificity to the 3 targets, and diagnostic accuracy of 95.38, 98.46 and 93.85%, respectively. Thus, the HRM-RTqPCR emerges as an alternative and low-cost methodology to increase the molecular diagnostic of patients suspicious for Covid-19, especially in restricted-budget laboratories.

Preprint Dans Anglais | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-434969


The SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in Brazil was dominated by two lineages designated as B.1.1.28 and B.1.1.33. Two SARS-CoV-2 variants harboring mutations at the receptor-binding domain of the Spike (S) protein, designated as lineages P.1 and P.2, evolved within lineage B.1.1.28 and are rapidly spreading in Brazil. Lineage P.1 is considered a Variant of Concern (VOC) because of the presence of multiple mutations in the S protein (including K417T, E484K, N501Y), while lineage P.2 only harbors mutation S:E484K and is considered a Variant of Interest (VOI). Here we report the identification of a new SARS-CoV-2 VOI within lineage B.1.1.33 that also harbors mutation S:E484K and was detected in Brazil between November 2020 and February 2021. This VOI displayed four non-synonymous lineage-defining mutations (NSP3:A1711V, NSP6:F36L, S:E484K, and NS7b:E33A) and was designated as lineage N.9. The VOI N.9 probably emerged in August 2020 and has spread across different Brazilian states from the Southeast, South, North and Northeast regions.

Détails de la recherche