Genomic Investigation of the Coronavirus Disease-2019 Outbreak in the Republic of Korea

Jeong-Min Kim, Sung Yong Park, Daesang Lee, Jun-Sub Kim, Youngjoon Park, Jin Gwack, Mi Young Kim, Dong Hyun Song, Seong Tae Jeong, Yoon-Seok Chung, Cheon Kwon Yoo, Ha Youn Lee, Myung-Guk Han

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Received date: 24th August 2020

The South Korean government effectively contained the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) outbreak primarily associated with a religious group. We conducted SARS-CoV-2 whole genome sequencing of 66 cases to investigate connections among the initial South Korean cases and the religious group outbreak. We assessed the accuracy of genomic investigation by comparing the whole genome sequences with comprehensive contact tracing records. Five transmission clusters were estimated among the 15 initial cases. The six close-contact cases and two potential exposure pairs identified by contact tracing showed two or fewer nucleotide base differences. Additionally, we identified two transmission clusters that were phylogenetically distinct from the initial clusters, sharing common G11083T, G26144T, and C14805T markers. The strain closest to the two additional clusters was identified from a pair of identical sequences isolated from individuals who traveled from Wuhan to Italy. Our findings provide insights into the origins of community spread of COVID-19.

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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.

Scientific Reports

Nature Research, Springer Nature