Spread of a SARS-CoV-2 variant through Europe in the summer of 2020

Hodcroft, Emma B. and Zuber, Moira and Nadeau, Sarah and Vaughan, Timothy G. and Crawford, Katharine H. D. and Althaus, Christian L. and Reichmuth, Martina L. and Bowen, John E. and Walls, Alexandra C. and Corti, Davide and Bloom, Jesse D. and Veesler, David and Mateo, David and Hernando, Alberto and Comas, Iñaki and González-Candelas, Fernando and SeqCovid-Spain consortium, and Stadler, Tanja and Neher, Richard A.. (2021) Spread of a SARS-CoV-2 variant through Europe in the summer of 2020. Nature, 595 (7869). pp. 707-712.

[img] PDF (10.1101/2020.10.25.20219063) - Submitted Version
Available under License CC BY-ND (Attribution-NoDerivatives).


Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/84938/

Downloads: Statistics Overview


Following its emergence in late 2019, the spread of SARS-CoV-2; 1,2; has been tracked by phylogenetic analysis of viral genome sequences in unprecedented detail; 3-5; . Although the virus spread globally in early 2020 before borders closed, intercontinental travel has since been greatly reduced. However, travel within Europe resumed in the summer of 2020. Here we report on a SARS-CoV-2 variant, 20E (EU1), that was identified in Spain in early summer 2020 and subsequently spread across Europe. We find no evidence that this variant has increased transmissibility, but instead demonstrate how rising incidence in Spain, resumption of travel, and lack of effective screening and containment may explain the variant's success. Despite travel restrictions, we estimate that 20E (EU1) was introduced hundreds of times to European countries by summertime travellers, which is likely to have undermined local efforts to minimize infection with SARS-CoV-2. Our results illustrate how a variant can rapidly become dominant even in the absence of a substantial transmission advantage in favourable epidemiological settings. Genomic surveillance is critical for understanding how travel can affect transmission of SARS-CoV-2, and thus for informing future containment strategies as travel resumes.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Biozentrum > Computational & Systems Biology > Computational Modeling of Biological Processes (Neher)
UniBasel Contributors:Neher, Richard A and Zuber, Moira Regina
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Identification Number:
edoc DOI:
Last Modified:24 Feb 2022 09:51
Deposited On:24 Feb 2022 09:51

Repository Staff Only: item control page