Global SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance: what we have learned (so far)

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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought significant challenges for genomic surveillance strategies in public health systems worldwide. During the past thirty-four months, many countries faced several epidemic waves of SARS-CoV-2 infections, driven mainly by the emergence and spread of novel variants. In that line, genomic surveillance has been a crucial toolkit to study the real-time SARS-CoV-2 evolution, for the assessment and optimization of novel diagnostic assays, and to improve the efficacy of existing vaccines. During the pandemic, the identification of emerging lineages carrying lineage-specific mutations (particularly those in the Receptor Binding domain) showed how these mutations might significantly impact viral transmissibility, protection from reinfection and vaccination. So far, an unprecedented number of SARS-CoV-2 viral genomes has been released in public databases (i.e., GISAID, and NCBI), achieving 14 million genome sequences available as of early-November 2022. In the present review, we summarise the global landscape of SARS-CoV-2 during the first thirty-four months of viral circulation and evolution. It demonstrates the urgency and importance of sustained investment in genomic surveillance strategies to timely identify the emergence of any potential viral pathogen or associated variants, which in turn is key to epidemic and pandemic preparedness.
Tosta S, Moreno K, Schuab G, Fonseca V, Segovia FMC, Kashima S, et al. Global SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance: what we have learned (so far). Infect Genet Evol. 2023 Jan; 108:105405. doi:10.1016/j.meegid.2023.105405.
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