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Open AccessArticle

Analysis of the Hosts and Transmission Paths of SARS-CoV-2 in the COVID-19 Outbreak

Department of Mathematical Sciences, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60607, USA
Department of Biological Sciences, Chicago State University, Chicago, IL 60628, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Genes 2020, 11(6), 637;
Received: 29 March 2020 / Revised: 30 May 2020 / Accepted: 3 June 2020 / Published: 9 June 2020
The severe respiratory disease COVID-19 was initially reported in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, and spread into many provinces from Wuhan. The corresponding pathogen was soon identified as a novel coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2 (formerly, 2019-nCoV). As of 2 May, 2020, over 3 million COVID-19 cases had been confirmed, and 235,290 deaths had been reported globally, and the numbers are still increasing. It is important to understand the phylogenetic relationship between SARS-CoV-2 and known coronaviruses, and to identify its hosts for preventing the next round of emergency outbreak. In this study, we employ an effective alignment-free approach, the Natural Vector method, to analyze the phylogeny and classify the coronaviruses based on genomic and protein data. Our results show that SARS-CoV-2 is closely related to, but distinct from the SARS-CoV branch. By analyzing the genetic distances from the SARS-CoV-2 strain to the coronaviruses residing in animal hosts, we establish that the most possible transmission path originates from bats to pangolins to humans. View Full-Text
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; transmission path; Natural Vector method SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; transmission path; Natural Vector method
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Dong, R.; Pei, S.; Yin, C.; He, R.L.; Yau, S. .-T. Analysis of the Hosts and Transmission Paths of SARS-CoV-2 in the COVID-19 Outbreak. Genes 2020, 11, 637.

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