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Open AccessArticle

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

1
Department of Mathematical Sciences, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
2
Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60607, USA
3
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; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11060637
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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MDPI and ACS Style

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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