Genomic variation and epidemiology of SARSCoV- 2 importation and early circulation in Israel

Neta S. Zuckerman*, Efrat Bucris, Yaron Drori, Oran Erster, Danit Sofer, Rakefet Pando, Ella Mendelson, Orna Mor, Michal Mandelboim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Severe acute respiratory disease coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) which causes corona virus disease (COVID-19) was first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and has since led to a global pandemic. Importations of SARS-CoV-2 to Israel in late February from multiple countries initiated a rapid outbreak across the country. In this study, SARS-CoV-2 whole genomes were sequenced from 59 imported samples with a recorded country of importation and 101 early circulating samples in February to mid-March 2020 and analyzed to infer clades and mutational patterns with additional sequences identified Israel available in public databases. Recorded importations in February to mid-March, mostly from Europe, led to multiple transmissions in all districts in Israel. Although all SARS-CoV-2 defined clades were imported, clade 20C became the dominating clade in the circulating samples. Identification of novel, frequently altered mutated positions correlating with clade-defining positions provide data for surveillance of this evolving pandemic and spread of specific clades of this virus. SARS-CoV-2 continues to spread and mutate in Israel and across the globe. With economy and travel resuming, surveillance of clades and accumulating mutations is crucial for understanding its evolution and spread patterns and may aid in decision making concerning public health issues.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0243265
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3 March
StatePublished - Mar 2021


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