Emergence of B.1.1.318 SARS-CoV-2 viral lineage and high incidence of alpha B.1.1.7 variant of concern in the Republic of Gabon

Int J Infect Dis. 2022 Jan;114:151-154. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2021.10.057. Epub 2021 Nov 3.


Objective: Variants of concern (VOCs) associated with relatively high transmissibility appear to be rapidly spreading in Gabon. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the distribution of several VOCs in the population, which could have implications for transmissibility and vaccine efficacy.

Methods: Between February and May 2021, SARS-CoV-2 genomes were sequenced using the Oxford nanopore MinION method and the respective genome diversity was elucidated. Phylogenetic analysis was performed and genomes were classified using pangolin lineages.

Results: The results highlighted an increase (46%) in the alpha VOC (B.1.1.7) in the Gabonese population over the study period. In addition, an increase (31%) in the B.1.1.318 lineage, which is associated with high transmission and impaired vaccine efficacy (D614G+E484K+Y144del), was detected.

Conclusion: With the second wave ongoing, these findings highlight the need for surveillance of the SARS-CoV-2 genome in the Republic of Gabon and should provide useful guidance to policymakers in selecting an appropriate vaccine for this population.

Keywords: B.1.1.318; B.1.1.7; Central Africa; Gabon; MinION; Oxford Nanopore; SARS-CoV-2; Transmission; Variant of concern.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Gabon / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Mutation
  • Phylogeny
  • SARS-CoV-2*
  • Vaccine Efficacy

Supplementary concepts

  • SARS-CoV-2 variants