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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-21264424


The COVID-19 pandemic, a disease caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), emerged in 2019 and quickly spread worldwide. Genomic surveillance has become the gold standard methodology to monitor and study this emerging virus. The current deluge of SARS-CoV-2 genomic data being generated worldwide has put additional pressure on the urgent need for streamlined bioinformatics workflows for data analysis. Here, we describe a workflow developed by our group to process and analyze large-scale SARS-CoV-2 Illumina amplicon sequencing data. This workflow automates all the steps involved in SARS-CoV-2 genomic analysis: data processing, genome assembly, PANGO lineage assignment, mutation analysis and the screening of intrahost variants. The workflow presented here ( is available through Docker or Singularity images, allowing implementation in laptops for small scale analyses or in high processing capacity servers or clusters. Moreover, the low requirements for memory and CPU cores makes it a versatile tool for SARS-CoV-2 genomic analysis.

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-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.

Preprint Dans Anglais | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20171595


The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in the human population has caused a huge pandemic that is still unfolding in many countries around the world. Multiple epicenters of the pandemic have emerged since the first pneumonia cases in Wuhan, first in Italy followed by the USA and Brazil. Up to now, Brazil is the second most affected country, however, genomic sequences of SARS-CoV-2 strains circulating in the country are restricted to some highly impacted states. Although the Pernambuco state, located in the Northeast Region, is the sixth most affected brazilian state and the second considering lethality rate, there is a lack of high quality genomic sequences from the strains circulating in this region. Here, we sequenced 38 strains of SARS-CoV-2 from patients presenting Covid-19 symptoms. Phylogenetic reconstructions revealed that three lineages were circulating in the state and 36 samples belong to B1.1 lineage. We detected two introductions from European countries and five clades, corroborating the community spread of the virus between different municipalities of the state. Finally, we detected that all except one strain showed the D614G spike protein amino acid change that may impact virus infectivity in human cells. Our study brought new light to the spread of SARS-CoV-2 strains in one of the most heavily impacted states of Brazil.

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