Linking contact tracing with genomic surveillance to deconvolute SARS-CoV-2 transmission on a university campus

iScience. 2022 Nov 18;25(11):105337. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2022.105337. Epub 2022 Oct 12.


Contact tracing and genomic data, approaches often used separately, have both been important tools in understanding the nature of SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Linked analysis of contact tracing and sequence relatedness of SARS-CoV-2 genomes from a regularly sampled university environment were used to build a multilevel transmission tracing and confirmation system to monitor and understand transmission on campus. Our investigation of an 18-person cluster stemming from an athletic team highlighted the importance of linking contact tracing and genomic analysis. Through these findings, it is suggestive that certain safety protocols in the athletic practice setting reduced transmission. The linking of traditional contact tracing with rapid-return genomic information is an effective approach for differentiating between multiple plausible transmission scenarios and informing subsequent public health protocols to limit disease spread in a university environment.

Keywords: Clinical finding; Genomics; Health sciences.