- Journal Article
The investigation of migratory patterns during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic before spring 2020 border closures in Europe is a crucial first step toward an in-depth evaluation of border closure policies. Here we analyze viral genome sequences using a phylodynamic model with geographic structure to estimate the origin and spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Europe prior to border closures. Based on SARS-CoV-2 genomes, we reconstruct a partial transmission tree of the early pandemic and coinfer the geographic location of ancestral lineages as well as the number of migration events into and between European regions. We find that the predominant lineage spreading in Europe during this time has a most recent common ancestor in Italy and was probably seeded by a transmission event in either Hubei, China or Germany. We do not find evidence for preferential migration paths from Hubei into different European regions or from each European region to the others. Sustained local transmission is first evident in Italy and then shortly thereafter in the other European regions considered. Before the first border closures in Europe, we estimate that the rate of occurrence of new cases from within-country transmission was within the bounds of the estimated rate of new cases from migration. In summary, our analysis offers a view on the early state of the epidemic in Europe and on migration patterns of the virus before border closures. This information will enable further study of the necessity and timeliness of border closures. © 2021 National Academy of Sciences Show more
Journal / seriesProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Pages / Article No.
PublisherNational Academy of Sciences
SubjectSARS-CoV-2; transmission; disease import; phylogeography
196267 - Real-time monitoring of COVID-19 transmission through phylodynamics (SNF)
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