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Global dispersal and increasing frequency of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein variant D614G are suggestive of a selective advantage but may also be due to a random founder effect. We investigate the hypothesis for positive selection of spike D614G in the United Kingdom using more than 25,000 whole genome SARS-CoV-2 sequences. Despite the availability of a large dataset, well represented by both spike 614 variants, not all approaches showed a conclusive signal of positive selection. Population genetic analysis indicates that 614G increases in frequency relative to 614D in a manner consistent with a selective advantage. We do not find any indication that patients infected with the spike 614G variant have higher COVID-19 mortality or clinical severity, but 614G is associated with higher viral load and younger age of patients. Significant differences in growth and size of 614G phylogenetic clusters indicate a need for continued study of this variant.
|Early online date||19 Nov 2020|
|Publication status||Published - 7 Jan 2021|
- founder effect
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Dataset: GISAID EpiCov SARS-CoV-2 Whole Genome Sequencing Database
Robson, S. (Creator), GISAID, 2020
COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium
Robson, S. (Creator), NCBI, 29 Apr 2020
- 1 Active
STOP COVID-19: Sequencing and Tracking Of Phylogeny in COVID-19
Robson, S., Scarlett, G., Bourgeois, Y., Beckett, A., Loveson, K., Glaysher, S., Chauhan, A., Goudarzi, S., Cook, K., Fearn, C., Paul, H. & Dent, H.
1/04/20 → 31/03/23