Publication

Title: Major new lineages of SARS-CoV-2 emerge and spread in South Africa during lockdown
Authors: Tegally H, Wilkinson E, Lessells R, Giandhari J, Pillay S, Msomi N, Mlisana K, Bhiman J, Allam M, Ismail A, Engelbrecht S, Van Zyl G, Preiser W, Williamson C, Pettruccione F, Sigal A, Gazy I, Hardie D, Hsiao M, Martin D, York D, Goedhals D, San EJ, Giovanetti M, Lourenco J, Alcantara LCJ, de Oliveira T.
Journal: medRxiv, https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.10.28.20221143: (2020)

Abstract

In March 2020, the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in South Africa. The epidemic spread very fast despite an early and extreme lockdown and infected over 600,000 people, by far the highest number of infections in an African country. To rapidly understand the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in South Africa, we formed the Network for Genomics Surveillance in South Africa (NGS-SA). Here, we analyze 1,365 high quality whole genomes and identify 16 new lineages of SARS-CoV-2. Most of these unique lineages have mutations that are found hardly anywhere else in the world. We also show that three lineages spread widely in South Africa and contributed to ?42% of all of the infections in the country. This included the first identified C lineage of SARS-CoV-2, C.1, which has 16 mutations as compared with the original Wuhan sequence. C.1 was the most geographically widespread lineage in South Africa, causing infections in multiple provinces and in all of the eleven districts in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), the most sampled province. Interestingly, the first South-African specific lineage, B.1.106, which was identified in April 2020, became extinct after nosocomial outbreaks were controlled. Our findings show that genomic surveillance can be implemented on a large scale in Africa to identify and control the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

Download: Full text paper

Citation: Tegally H, Wilkinson E, Lessells R, Giandhari J, Pillay S, Msomi N, Mlisana K, Bhiman J, Allam M, Ismail A, Engelbrecht S, Van Zyl G, Preiser W, Williamson C, Pettruccione F, Sigal A, Gazy I, Hardie D, Hsiao M, Martin D, York D, Goedhals D, San EJ, Giovanetti M, Lourenco J, Alcantara LCJ, de Oliveira T. Major new lineages of SARS-CoV-2 emerge and spread in South Africa during lockdown medRxiv, https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.10.28.20221143: (2020).

Printed and Online Media Coverage

News Medical Net

16 new lineages of SARS-CoV-2 emerge in South Africa despite lockdownNews Medical Net - 2020-11-05 Published in a recent medRxiv* paper, researchers from South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Brazil found that these mutations in SARS-CoV-2 lineages are localized to South Africa. These unique strains, not found elsewhere in the world, are thought to have contributed around 42% to the country's total infection rate.



KRISP has been created by the coordinated effort of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and the South African Medical Research Countil (SAMRC).


Location: K-RITH Tower Building
Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, UKZN
719 Umbilo Road, Durban, South Africa.
Director: Prof. Tulio de Oliveira