Whole genome and phylogenetic analysis of two SARS-CoV-2 strains isolated in Italy in January and February 2020
Whole genome sequences of SARS-CoV-2 obtained from two patients, a Chinese tourist visiting Rome and an Italian, were compared with sequences from Europe and elsewhere. The study of Italianteam of researchers was published in Eurosurveillance - Europe's journal on infectious disease surveillance, epidemiology, prevention and control.
The two patients in this study had both been hospitalised with an acute respiratory illness (pneumonia), showing a bilateral lung involvement with ground-glass opacity, requiring intensive care. The Chinese patient had had onset of symptoms on 29 January 2020 and had been diagnosed in a hospital in Rome. The Italian patient whose onset of symptoms had occurred on 10 February 2020 had been diagnosed in a hospital in Milan. Biological samples from both patients had been confirmed as being SARS-CoV-2 positive by the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) in Rome.
Multiple SARS-CoV-2 introductions in Europe or virus evolution during circulation
In a phylogenetic tree, the Italian patient’s sequence clustered with sequences from Germany while the tourist’s sequence clustered with other European sequences. Some additional European sequences in the tree segregated outside the two clusters containing the patients’ sequences. This suggests multiple SARS-CoV-2 introductions in Europe or virus evolution during circulation.
Read the whole research HERE.