A doubt of multiple introduction of SARS-CoV-2 in Italy: A preliminary overview

J Med Virol. 2020 Sep;92(9):1634-1636. doi: 10.1002/jmv.25773. Epub 2020 Mar 27.

Abstract

The emergence of the novel betacoronavirus, recently renamed as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has raised serious concerns due to the virus's rapid dissemination worldwide. Nevertheless, there is limited information about the genomic epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 circulating in Italy from surveillance studies. The shortage of complete genomic sequences available impairs our understanding of the SARS-CoV-2 introduction and establishment in the country. To better understand its dynamics in Italy, we analyzed complete genomes of SARS-CoV-2 isolates, obtained directly from clinical samples. Our phylogenetic reconstructions suggest possible multiple introduction of SARS-CoV-2. Continued genomic surveillance strategies are needed to improve monitoring and understanding of the current SARS-CoV-2 epidemics, which might help to attenuate public health impact of infectious diseases.

Keywords: COVID-19; Italian outbreak; epidemic; phylogenetic inference.