Genomic characterisation reveals a dominant lineage of SARS-CoV-2 in Papua New Guinea.
ABSTRACT: The coronavirus disease pandemic has highlighted the utility of pathogen genomics as a key part of comprehensive public health response to emerging infectious diseases threats, however, the ability to generate, analyse, and respond to pathogen genomic data varies around the world. Papua New Guinea (PNG), which has limited in-country capacity for genomics, has experienced significant outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) with initial genomics data indicating a large proportion of cases were from lineages that are not well defined within the current nomenclature. Through a partnership between in-country public health agencies and academic organisations, industry, and a public health genomics reference laboratory in Australia a system for routine SARS-CoV-2 genomics from PNG was established. Here we aim to characterise and describe the genomics of PNG's second wave and examine the sudden expansion of a lineage that is not well defined but very prevalent in the Western Pacific region. We generated 1797 sequences from cases in PNG and performed phylogenetic and phylodynamic analyses to examine the outbreak and characterise the circulating lineages and clusters present. Our results reveal the rapid expansion of the B.1.466.2 and related lineages within PNG, from multiple introductions into the country. We also highlight the difficulties that unstable lineage assignment causes when using genomics to assist with rapid cluster definitions.
Project description:Characterisation of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) genetic diversity through space and time can reveal trends in virus importation and domestic circulation and permit the exploration of questions regarding the early transmission dynamics. Here, we present a detailed description of SARS-CoV-2 genomic epidemiology in Ecuador, one of the hardest hit countries during the early stages of the coronavirus-19 pandemic. We generated and analysed 160 whole genome sequences sampled from all provinces of Ecuador in 2020. Molecular clock and phylogeographic analysis of these sequences in the context of global SARS-CoV-2 diversity enable us to identify and characterise individual transmission lineages within Ecuador, explore their spatiotemporal distributions, and consider their introduction and domestic circulation. Our results reveal a pattern of multiple international importations across the country, with apparent differences between key provinces. Transmission lineages were mostly introduced before the implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions, with differential degrees of persistence and national dissemination.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Papua New Guinea (PNG) experienced positive GDP growth at approximately 4.3% per year during the last decade. With increases in overall wealth within the country, PNG is facing a double burden of malnutrition: comparatively high child stunting rates and a growing overweight and obesity epidemic. We focus on the latter by evaluating trends in agri-food import data from 2001 to 2018 and household consumption data from 2018 and 2009/10.<h4>Results</h4>The analysis presented in this paper raises three red flags. First, international food import data suggest that the demand for ultra-processed, sugar-sweetened beverages and food have increased substantially over time in PNG. Sugar-sweetened beverages dominated the largest growth in processed food imports, increasing by 23% per capita per year between 2001 and 2018. Second, households across the country with a greater food expenditure on sugar-sweetened beverages have a higher probability of an overweight child (under 5 years old). Last, the probability of soft-drink consumption in PNG increases with greater income acquisition and improved market access. While the price of a soft drink is negatively correlated with the quantity consumed, analysis suggests that total household income has a quantitatively larger (and positive) association with soft drink consumption.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Taxing (or increasing taxes on) sugar-sweetened beverages may not be a sufficient policy mechanism to curb overconsumption of soft drinks in PNG. Education and advocacy programs should be fostered that integrate improved dietary information on packaging, as well as greater access to and understanding of nutrition and diet information of common household consumption items. While increases in household income and market access are crucial to economic growth and transformation, PNG's economic transition must be dovetailed with programs that expand and enhance health and nutrition information and education to improve household consumption decisions and overall household wellbeing.
Project description:Genomics, combined with population mobility data, used to map importation and spatial spread of SARS-CoV-2 in high-income countries has enabled the implementation of local control measures. Here, to track the spread of SARS-CoV-2 lineages in Bangladesh at the national level, we analysed outbreak trajectory and variant emergence using genomics, Facebook 'Data for Good' and data from three mobile phone operators. We sequenced the complete genomes of 67 SARS-CoV-2 samples (collected by the IEDCR in Bangladesh between March and July 2020) and combined these data with 324 publicly available Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) SARS-CoV-2 genomes from Bangladesh at that time. We found that most (85%) of the sequenced isolates were Pango lineage B.1.1.25 (58%), B.1.1 (19%) or B.1.36 (8%) in early-mid 2020. Bayesian time-scaled phylogenetic analysis predicted that SARS-CoV-2 first emerged during mid-February in Bangladesh, from abroad, with the first case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) reported on 8 March 2020. At the end of March 2020, three discrete lineages expanded and spread clonally across Bangladesh. The shifting pattern of viral diversity in Bangladesh, combined with the mobility data, revealed that the mass migration of people from cities to rural areas at the end of March, followed by frequent travel between Dhaka (the capital of Bangladesh) and the rest of the country, disseminated three dominant viral lineages. Further analysis of an additional 85 genomes (November 2020 to April 2021) found that importation of variant of concern Beta (B.1.351) had occurred and that Beta had become dominant in Dhaka. Our interpretation that population mobility out of Dhaka, and travel from urban hotspots to rural areas, disseminated lineages in Bangladesh in the first wave continues to inform government policies to control national case numbers by limiting within-country travel.
Project description:Information is lacking on the clinical impact of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, on people with cystic fibrosis (CF). Our aim was to characterise SARS-CoV-2 infection in people with cystic fibrosis. METHODS:Anonymised data submitted by each participating country to their National CF Registry was reported using a standardised template, then collated and summarised. RESULTS:40 cases have been reported across 8 countries. Of the 40 cases, 31 (78%) were symptomatic for SARS-CoV-2 at presentation, with 24 (60%) having a fever. 70% have recovered, 30% remain unresolved at time of reporting, and no deaths have been submitted. CONCLUSIONS:This early report shows good recovery from SARS-CoV-2 in this heterogeneous CF cohort. The disease course does not seem to differ from the general population, but the current numbers are too small to draw firm conclusions and people with CF should continue to strictly follow public health advice to protect themselves from infection.
Project description:The COVID-19 pandemic has already reached more than 110 million people and is associated with 2.5 million deaths worldwide. Brazil is the third worst-hit country, with approximately 10.2 million cases and 250 thousand deaths. International efforts have been established to share information about Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) epidemiology and evolution to support the development of effective strategies for public health and disease management. We aimed to analyze the high-quality genome sequences from Brazil from February 2020-2021 to identify mutation hotspots, geographical and temporal distribution of SARS-CoV-2 lineages by using phylogenetics and phylodynamics analyses. We describe heterogeneous sequencing efforts, the progression of the different lineages along time, evaluating mutational spectra and frequency oscillations derived from the prevalence of specific lineages across different Brazilian regions. We found at least seven major (1-7) and two minor clades related to the six most prevalent lineages in the country and described its spatial distribution and dynamics. The emergence and recent frequency shift of lineages (P.1 and P.2) carrying mutations of concern in the spike protein (e. g., E484K, N501Y) draws attention due to their association with immune evasion and enhanced receptor binding affinity. Improvements in genomic surveillance are of paramount importance and should be extended in Brazil to better inform policy makers about better decisions to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Project description:Among Oceania's population of 35 million people, the greatest number living in poverty currently live in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Fiji, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands. These impoverished populations are at high risk for selected NTDs, including Necator americanus hookworm infection, strongyloidiasis, lymphatic filariasis (LF), balantidiasis, yaws, trachoma, leprosy, and scabies, in addition to outbreaks of dengue and other arboviral infections including Japanese encephalitis virus infection. PNG stands out for having the largest number of cases and highest prevalence for most of these NTDs. However, Australia's Aboriginal population also suffers from a range of significant NTDs. Through the Pacific Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis, enormous strides have been made in eliminating LF in Oceania through programs of mass drug administration (MDA), although LF remains widespread in PNG. There are opportunities to scale up MDA for PNG's major NTDs, which could be accomplished through an integrated package that combines albendazole, ivermectin, diethylcarbamazine, and azithromycin, in a program of national control. Australia's Aboriginal population may benefit from appropriately integrated MDA into primary health care systems. Several emerging viral NTDs remain important threats to the region.
Project description:Spain has been one of the main global pandemic epicenters for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Here, we analyzed >41 000 genomes (including >26 000 high-quality (HQ) genomes) downloaded from the GISAID repository, including 1 245 (922 HQ) sampled in Spain. The aim of this study was to investigate genome variation of novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and reconstruct phylogeographic and transmission patterns in Spain. Phylogeographic analysis suggested at least 34 independent introductions of SARS-CoV-2 to Spain at the beginning of the outbreak. Six lineages spread very successfully in the country, probably favored by super-spreaders, namely, A2a4 (7.8%), A2a5 (38.4%), A2a10 (2.8%), B3a (30.1%), and B9 (8.7%), which accounted for 87.9% of all genomes in the Spanish database. One distinct feature of the Spanish SARS-CoV-2 genomes was the higher frequency of B lineages (39.3%, mainly B3a+B9) than found in any other European country. While B3a, B9, (and an important sub-lineage of A2a5, namely, A2a5c) most likely originated in Spain, the other three haplogroups were imported from other European locations. The B3a strain may have originated in the Basque Country from a B3 ancestor of uncertain geographic origin, whereas B9 likely emerged in Madrid. The time of the most recent common ancestor (TMRCA) of SARS-CoV-2 suggested that the first coronavirus entered the country around 11 February 2020, as estimated from the TMRCA of B3a, the first lineage detected in the country. Moreover, earlier claims that the D614G mutation is associated to higher transmissibility is not consistent with the very high prevalence of COVID-19 in Spain when compared to other countries with lower disease incidence but much higher frequency of this mutation (56.4% in Spain vs. 82.4% in rest of Europe). Instead, the data support a major role of genetic drift in modeling the micro-geographic stratification of virus strains across the country as well as the role of SARS-CoV-2 super-spreaders.
Project description:Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic spread rapidly and this scenario is concerning in South America, mainly in Brazil that presented more than 21 million coronavirus disease 2019 cases and 590 000 deaths. The recent emergence of novel lineages carrying several mutations in the spike protein has raised additional public health concerns worldwide. The present study describes the temporal spreading and evolution of SARS-CoV2 in the beginning of the second pandemic wave in Brazil, highlighting the fast dissemination of the two major concerning variants (P.1 and P.2). A total of 2507 SARS-CoV-2 whole-genome sequences (WGSs) with available information from the country (Brazil) and sampling date (July 2020-February 2021), were obtained and the frequencies of the lineages were evaluated in the period of the growing second pandemic wave. The results demonstrated the increasing prevalence of P.1 and P.2 lineages in the period evaluated. P.2 lineage was first detected in the middle of 2020, but a high increase occurred only in the last trimester of this same year and the spreading to all Brazilian regions. P.1 lineage emerged even later, first in the North region in December 2020 and really fast dissemination to all other Brazilian regions in January and February 2021. All SARS-CoV-2 WGSs of P.1 and P.2 were further separately evaluated with a Bayesian approach. The rates of nucleotide and amino acid substitutions were statistically higher in P.1 than P.2 (p < 0.01). The phylodynamic analysis demonstrated that P.2 gradually spread in all the country from September 2020 to January 2021, while P.1 disseminated even faster from December 2020 to February 2021. Skyline plots of both lineages demonstrated a slight rise in the spreading for P.2 and exponential growth for P.1. In conclusion, these data demonstrated that the P.1 (recently renamed as Gamma) and P.2 lineages have predominated in the second pandemic wave due to the very high spreading across all geographic regions in Brazil at the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021.
Project description:Characterisation of SARS-CoV-2 genetic diversity through space and time can reveal trends in virus importation and domestic circulation, and permit the exploration of questions regarding the early transmission dynamics. Here we present a detailed description of SARS-CoV-2 genomic epidemiology in Ecuador, one of the hardest hit countries during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. We generate and analyse 160 whole genome sequences sampled from all provinces of Ecuador in 2020. Molecular clock and phylgeographic analysis of these sequences in the context of global SARS-CoV-2 diversity enable us to identify and characterise individual transmission lineages within Ecuador, explore their spatiotemporal distributions, and consider their introduction and domestic circulation. Our results reveal a pattern of multiple international importations across the country, with apparent differences between key provinces. Transmission lineages were mostly introduced before the implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), with differential degrees of persistence and national dissemination.
Project description:In early January 2020, Thailand became the first country where a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patient was identified outside China. In this study, 23 whole genomes of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) from patients who were hospitalized from January to March 2020 were analyzed, along with their travel histories. Six lineages were identified including A, A.6, B, B.1, B.1.8, and B.58, among which lineage A.6 was dominant. Seven patients were from China who traveled to Thailand in January and early February. Five of them were infected with the B lineage virus, and the other two cases were infected with different lineages including A and A.6. These findings present clear evidence of the early introduction of diverse SARS-CoV-2 clades in Thailand.