Genomic, geographic and temporal distributions of SARS-CoV-2 mutations [article]

Hsin-Chou Yang, Chun-houh Chen, Jen-Hung Wang, Hsiao-Ch Liao, Chih-Ting Yang, Chia-Wei Chen, Yin-Chun Lin, Chiun-How Kao, James C. Liao
2020 bioRxiv   pre-print
The COVID-19 pandemic is the most significant public health issue in recent history. Its causal agent, SARS-CoV-2, has evolved rapidly since its first emergence in December 2019. Mutations in the viral genome have critical impacts on the adaptation of viral strains to the local environment, and may alter the characteristics of viral transmission, disease manifestation, and the efficacy of treatment and vaccination. Using the complete sequences of 1,932 SARS-CoV-2 genomes, we examined the
more » ... , geographic and temporal distributions of aged, new, and frequent mutations of SARS-CoV-2, and identified six phylogenetic clusters of the strains, which also exhibit a geographic preference in different continents. Mutations in the form of single nucleotide variations (SNVs) provide a direct interpretation for the six phylogenetic clusters. Linkage disequilibrium, haplotype structure, evolutionary process, global distribution of mutations unveiled a sketch of the mutational history. Additionally, we found a positive correlation between the average mutation count and case fatality, and this correlation had strengthened with time, suggesting an important role of SNVs on disease outcomes. This study suggests that SNVs may become an important consideration in virus detection, clinical treatment, drug design, and vaccine development to avoid target shifting, and that continued isolation and sequencing is a crucial component in the fight against this pandemic.
doi:10.1101/2020.04.22.055863 fatcat:v47fwxfwfrc6hg3o5ngk72mdzi