Genomic analysis of early SARS-CoV-2 strains introduced in Mexico

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
B. TaboadaCarlos Federico Arias


The COVID-19 pandemic has affected most countries in the world. Studying the evolution and transmission patterns in different countries is crucial to implement effective strategies for disease control and prevention. In this work, we present the full genome sequence for 17 SARS-CoV-2 isolates corresponding to the earliest sampled cases in Mexico. Global and local phylogenomics, coupled with mutational analysis, consistently revealed that these viral sequences are distributed within 2 known lineages, the SARS-CoV-2 lineage A/G, containing mostly sequences from North America, and the lineage B/S containing mainly sequences from Europe. Based on the exposure history of the cases and on the phylogenomic analysis, we characterized fourteen independent introduction events. Additionally, three cases with no travel history were identified. We found evidence that two of these cases represent local transmission cases occurring in Mexico during mid-March 2020, denoting the earliest events described in the country. Within this Mexican cluster, we also identified an H49Y amino acid change in the spike protein. This mutation is a homoplasy occurring independently through time and space, and may function as a molecular marker to follow on any...Continue Reading

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