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Article

Molecular Epidemiology Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 Strains Circulating in Romania during the First Months of the Pandemic

1
“Prof. Dr. Matei Bals” National Institute for Infectious Diseases, 021105 Bucharest, Romania
2
Institute of Biochemistry, Romanian Academy, 060031 Bucharest, Romania
3
“Marie Curie” Emergency Clinical Hospital, 077120 Bucharest, Romania
4
“Carol Davila” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 050474 Bucharest, Romania
5
National Retrovirus Reference Center, Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, 15772 Athens, Greece
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors are equal contribution.
Life 2020, 10(8), 152; https://doi.org/10.3390/life10080152
Received: 15 July 2020 / Revised: 10 August 2020 / Accepted: 12 August 2020 / Published: 14 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology, Evolution and Epidemiology of Coronaviruses)
BACKGROUND: The spread of SARS-CoV-2 generated an unprecedented global public health crisis. Soon after Asia, Europe was seriously affected. Many countries, including Romania, adopted lockdown measures to limit the outbreak. AIM: We performed a molecular epidemiology analysis of SARS-CoV-2 viral strains circulating in Romania during the first two months of the epidemic in order to detect mutation profiles and phylogenetic relatedness. METHODS: Respiratory samples were directly used for shotgun sequencing. RESULTS: All Romanian sequences belonged to lineage B, with a different subtype distribution between northern and southern regions (subtype B.1.5 and B.1.1). Phylogenetic analysis suggested that the Romanian epidemic started with multiple introduction events from other European countries followed by local transmission. Phylogenetic links between northern Romania and Spain, Austria, Scotland and Russia were observed, as well as between southern Romania and Switzerland, Italy, France and Turkey. One viral strain presented a previously unreported mutation in the Nsp2 gene, namely K489E. Epidemiologically-defined clusters displayed specific mutations, suggesting molecular signatures for strains coming from areas that were isolated during the lockdown. CONCLUSIONS: Romanian epidemic was initiated by multiple introductions from European countries followed by local transmissions. Different subtype distribution between northern and southern Romania was observed after two months of the pandemic. View Full-Text
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; WGS; coronavirus; phylogenetic analysis; outbreak; mutations; pandemic; Romania SARS-CoV-2; WGS; coronavirus; phylogenetic analysis; outbreak; mutations; pandemic; Romania
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MDPI and ACS Style

Surleac, M.; Banica, L.; Casangiu, C.; Cotic, M.; Florea, D.; Sandulescu, O.; Milu, P.; Streinu-Cercel, A.; Vlaicu, O.; Paraskevis, D.; Paraschiv, S.; Otelea, D. Molecular Epidemiology Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 Strains Circulating in Romania during the First Months of the Pandemic. Life 2020, 10, 152. https://doi.org/10.3390/life10080152

AMA Style

Surleac M, Banica L, Casangiu C, Cotic M, Florea D, Sandulescu O, Milu P, Streinu-Cercel A, Vlaicu O, Paraskevis D, Paraschiv S, Otelea D. Molecular Epidemiology Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 Strains Circulating in Romania during the First Months of the Pandemic. Life. 2020; 10(8):152. https://doi.org/10.3390/life10080152

Chicago/Turabian Style

Surleac, Marius, Leontina Banica, Corina Casangiu, Marius Cotic, Dragos Florea, Oana Sandulescu, Petre Milu, Anca Streinu-Cercel, Ovidiu Vlaicu, Dimitrios Paraskevis, Simona Paraschiv, and Dan Otelea. 2020. "Molecular Epidemiology Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 Strains Circulating in Romania during the First Months of the Pandemic" Life 10, no. 8: 152. https://doi.org/10.3390/life10080152

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