Sep 21, 2014

SARS-CoV-2 exhibits intra-host genomic plasticity and low-frequency polymorphic quasispecies

Vanessa JonssonAndreas Mentis


In December 2019, an outbreak of atypical pneumonia (Coronavirus disease 2019 -COVID-19) associated with a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was reported in Wuhan city, Hubei province, China. The outbreak was traced to a seafood wholesale market and human to human transmission was confirmed. The rapid spread and the death toll of the new epidemic warrants immediate intervention. The intra-host genomic variability of SARS-CoV-2 plays a pivotal role in the development of effective antiviral agents and vaccines, but also in the design of accurate diagnostics. We analyzed NGS data derived from clinical samples of three Chinese patients infected with SARS-CoV-2, in order to identify small- and large-scale intra-host variations in the viral genome. We identified tens of low- or higher-frequency single nucleotide variations (SNVs) with variable density across the viral genome, affecting 7 out of 10 protein-coding viral genes. The majority of these SNVs corresponded to missense changes. The annotation of the identified SNVs but also of all currently circulating strain variations revealed colocalization of intra-host but also strain specific SNVs with primers and probes currently used in molecular diagnostics assays. Moreover, we de-novo a...Continue Reading

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