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Rapid Whole Genome Sequence Typing Reveals Multiple Waves of SARS-CoV-2 Spread

Published time: 9 June 2020

Authors: Ahmed M Moustafa, Paul Planet

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, nomenclature, lineages, WhatsGNU, cgMLST, wgMLST, clonal complex


As the pandemic SARS-CoV-2 virus has spread globally its genome has diversified to an extent that distinct clones can now be recognized, tracked, and traced. Identifying clonal groups allows for assessment of geographic spread, transmission events, and identification of new or emerging strains that may be more virulent or more transmissible. Here we present a rapid, whole genome, allele-based method (GNUVID) for assigning sequence types to sequenced isolates of SARS-CoV-2 sequences. This sequence typing scheme can be updated with new genomic information extremely rapidly, making our technique continually adaptable as databases grow. We show that our method is consistent with phylogeny and recovers waves of expansion and replacement of sequence types/clonal complexes in different geographical locations.

Rapid whole genome sequence typing reveals multiple waves of



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