Background: Several SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC) have emerged through 2020 and 2021. There is need for tools to estimate the relative transmissibility of emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2 with respect to circulating strains. Aim: We aimed to assess the prevalence of co-circulating VOC in Italy and estimate their relative transmissibility. Methods: We conducted two genomic surveillance surveys on 18 February and 18 March 2021 across the whole Italian territory covering 3,243 clinical samples and developed a mathematical model that describes the dynamics of co-circulating strains. Results: The Alpha variant was already dominant on 18 February in a majority of regions/autonomous provinces (national prevalence: 54%) and almost completely replaced historical lineages by 18 March (dominant across Italy, national prevalence: 86%). We found a substantial proportion of the Gamma variant on 18 February, almost exclusively in central Italy (prevalence: 19%), which remained similar on 18 March. Nationally, the mean relative transmissibility of Alpha ranged at 1.55–1.57 times the level of historical lineages (95% CrI: 1.45–1.66). The relative transmissibility of Gamma varied according to the assumed degree of cross-protection from infection with other lineages and ranged from 1.12 (95% CrI: 1.03–1.23) with complete immune evasion to 1.39 (95% CrI: 1.26–1.56) for complete cross-protection. Conclusion: We assessed the relative advantage of competing viral strains, using a mathematical model assuming different degrees of cross-protection. We found substantial co-circulation of Alpha and Gamma in Italy. Gamma was not able to outcompete Alpha, probably because of its lower transmissibility.

Co-circulation of SARS-CoV-2 Alpha and Gamma variants in Italy, February and March 2021

Mencacci A.;Camilloni B.;
2022

Abstract

Background: Several SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC) have emerged through 2020 and 2021. There is need for tools to estimate the relative transmissibility of emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2 with respect to circulating strains. Aim: We aimed to assess the prevalence of co-circulating VOC in Italy and estimate their relative transmissibility. Methods: We conducted two genomic surveillance surveys on 18 February and 18 March 2021 across the whole Italian territory covering 3,243 clinical samples and developed a mathematical model that describes the dynamics of co-circulating strains. Results: The Alpha variant was already dominant on 18 February in a majority of regions/autonomous provinces (national prevalence: 54%) and almost completely replaced historical lineages by 18 March (dominant across Italy, national prevalence: 86%). We found a substantial proportion of the Gamma variant on 18 February, almost exclusively in central Italy (prevalence: 19%), which remained similar on 18 March. Nationally, the mean relative transmissibility of Alpha ranged at 1.55–1.57 times the level of historical lineages (95% CrI: 1.45–1.66). The relative transmissibility of Gamma varied according to the assumed degree of cross-protection from infection with other lineages and ranged from 1.12 (95% CrI: 1.03–1.23) with complete immune evasion to 1.39 (95% CrI: 1.26–1.56) for complete cross-protection. Conclusion: We assessed the relative advantage of competing viral strains, using a mathematical model assuming different degrees of cross-protection. We found substantial co-circulation of Alpha and Gamma in Italy. Gamma was not able to outcompete Alpha, probably because of its lower transmissibility.
2022
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11391/1526147
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