In DepthInfectious Diseases

Genome analyses help track coronavirus' moves

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Science  13 Mar 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6483, pp. 1176-1177
DOI: 10.1126/science.367.6483.1176

Summary

As the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has spread around the world, scientists have been racing to sequence its genome from patient samples, sharing sequences online and analyzing them almost in real-time. More than 350 genome sequences have been shared on the online platform GISAID. They hold clues to how the new virus is spreading and evolving. But because the sequences represent a tiny fraction of cases they are easy to overinterpret. And different SARS-CoV-2 genomes, which accumulate about one to two mutations per month over their 30,000 base-pair length, are still very similar, further complicating efforts to make definitive statements about how the virus spreads.

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