Molecular epidemiological analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genovariants in Moscow and Moscow region
Introduction. SARS-CoV-2, a severe acute respiratory illness virus that emerged in China in late 2019, continues to spread rapidly around the world, accumulating mutations and thus causing serious concern. Five virus variants of concern are currently known: Alpha (lineage B.1.1.7), Beta (lineage B.1.351), Gamma (lineage P.1), Delta (lineage B.1.617.2), and Omicron (lineage B.1.1.529). In this study, we conducted a molecular epidemiological analysis of the most prevalent genovariants in Moscow and the region.
The aim of the study is to estimate the distribution of various variants of SARS-CoV-2 in Moscow city and the Moscow Region.
Materials and methods. 227 SARS-CoV-2 sequences were used for analysis. Isolation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was performed on Vero E6 cell culture. Sequencing was performed by the Sanger method. Bioinformatic analysis was carried out using software packages: MAFFT, IQ-TREE v1.6.12, jModelTest 2.1.7, Nextstrain, Auspice v2.34.
Results. As a result of phylogenetic analysis, we have identified the main variants of the virus circulating in Russia that have been of concern throughout the existence of the pandemic, namely: variant B.1.1.7, which accounted for 30% (9/30), AY.122, which accounted for 16.7% (5/30), BA.1.1 with 20% (6/30) and B.1.1 with 33.3% (10/30). When examining Moscow samples for the presence of mutations in SARS-CoV-2 structural proteins of different genovariants, a significant percentage of the most common substitutions was recorded: S protein D614G (86.7%), P681H/R (63.3%), E protein T9I (20.0%); M protein I82T (30.0%), D3G (20.0%), Q19E (20.0%) and finally N protein R203K/M (90.0%), G204R/P (73.3 %).
Conclusion. The study of the frequency and impact of mutations, as well as the analysis of the predominant variants of the virus are important for the development and improvement of vaccines for the prevention of COVID-19. Therefore, ongoing molecular epidemiological studies are needed, as these data provide important information about changes in the genome of circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants.