Genomic epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 reveals multiple lineages and early spread of SARS-CoV-2 infections in Lombardy, Italy

Nat Commun. 2021 Jan 19;12(1):434. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-20688-x.


From February to April 2020, Lombardy (Italy) reported the highest numbers of SARS-CoV-2 cases worldwide. By analyzing 346 whole SARS-CoV-2 genomes, we demonstrate the presence of seven viral lineages in Lombardy, frequently sustained by local transmission chains and at least two likely to have originated in Italy. Six single nucleotide polymorphisms (five of them non-synonymous) characterized the SARS-CoV-2 sequences, none of them affecting N-glycosylation sites. The seven lineages, and the presence of local transmission clusters within three of them, revealed that sustained community transmission was underway before the first COVID-19 case had been detected in Lombardy.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • Epidemics
  • Female
  • Genome, Viral / genetics*
  • Genomics / methods*
  • Geography
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phylogeny
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2 / classification
  • SARS-CoV-2 / genetics*
  • SARS-CoV-2 / physiology