Dynamics of Global and Continent-Specific Mutations Before and After Lockdown Policies

Santiago Justo Arévalo, Daniela Zapata Sifuentes, César Huallpa Robles, Gianfranco Landa Bianchi, Adriana Castillo Chávez, Romina Garavito-Salini Casas, Roberto Pineda Chavarría, Guillermo Uceda-Campos

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Received date: 30th November 2020

After eight months of the pandemic, COVID-19 has not been globally controlled. The effectiveness of new treatments requires that the regions to which these are directed do not vary considerably. Although, it is known that the mutation rate of SARS-CoV-2 is relatively low it is necessary to monitor the appearance and dynamics of mutations during the pandemic. Here, we first estimate the number of COVID-19 cases with a virus with a specific mutation and then calculate its global relative frequency. Using 100 924 genomes from GISAID, we identified 41 mutations to be present in an estimated of 750 000 COVID-19 cases. We classified them in high-frequent and low-frequent. Dynamics of these mutations by month and continent showed that high-frequent mutations appeared in the first months of 2020, all are present in all continents and 4 are almost fixed in the world. On the other hand, most low-frequent mutations are currently continent-specific and some of them are rapidly increasing in the last months analyzed. Lockdown policies had a peak of implementation on April. After that, policies were maintained in a level that probably avoid spreading of continent-specific mutations in all the world. However, relaxation of some policies probably allows the increase in frequency of some mutations intra-continent. Our functional and structural in-silico analysis of 25 the non-synonymous mutations shows that in most of them it is unlikely to have a reasonable effect on pathogenesis on their own.

Read in full at bioRxiv.

This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on a preprint server, which is currently undergoing peer review at Scientific Reports. The findings have yet to be thoroughly evaluated, nor has a decision on ultimate publication been made. Therefore, the results reported should not be considered conclusive, and these findings should not be used to inform clinical practice, or public health policy, or be promoted as verified information.

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