Research ArticleCORONAVIRUS

Genomic epidemiology of superspreading events in Austria reveals mutational dynamics and transmission properties of SARS-CoV-2

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Science Translational Medicine  09 Dec 2020:
Vol. 12, Issue 573, eabe2555
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abe2555

Tracking and tracing SARS-CoV-2 mutations

Austria was an early hotspot of SARS-CoV-2 transmission due to winter tourism. By integrating viral genomic and phylogenetic analyses with time-resolved contact tracing data, Popa et al. examined the fine-scale dynamics of viral spread within and from Austria in the spring of 2020. Epidemiologically defined phylogenetic clusters and viral mutational profiles provided evidence of the ongoing fixation of two viral alleles within transmission chains and enabled estimation of the SARS-CoV-2 bottleneck size. This study provides an epidemiologically contextualized, high-resolution picture of SARS-CoV-2 mutational dynamics in an early international transmission hub.

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