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Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from humans to animals and potential host adaptation

Tan, Cedric CS; Lam, Su Datt; Richard, Damien; Owen, Christopher J; Berchtold, Dorothea; Orengo, Christine; Nair, Meera Surendran; ... Balloux, François; + view all (2022) Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from humans to animals and potential host adaptation. Nature Communications , 13 (1) , Article 2988. 10.1038/s41467-022-30698-6. Green open access

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Abstract

SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of the COVID-19 pandemic, can infect a wide range of mammals. Since its spread in humans, secondary host jumps of SARS-CoV-2 from humans to multiple domestic and wild populations of mammals have been documented. Understanding the extent of adaptation to these animal hosts is critical for assessing the threat that the spillback of animal-adapted SARS-CoV-2 into humans poses. We compare the genomic landscapes of SARS-CoV-2 isolated from animal species to that in humans, profiling the mutational biases indicative of potentially different selective pressures in animals. We focus on viral genomes isolated from mink (Neovison vison) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) for which multiple independent outbreaks driven by onward animal-to-animal transmission have been reported. We identify five candidate mutations for animal-specific adaptation in mink (NSP9_G37E, Spike_F486L, Spike_N501T, Spike_Y453F, ORF3a_L219V), and one in deer (NSP3a_L1035F), though they appear to confer a minimal advantage for human-to-human transmission. No considerable changes to the mutation rate or evolutionary trajectory of SARS-CoV-2 has resulted from circulation in mink and deer thus far. Our findings suggest that minimal adaptation was required for onward transmission in mink and deer following human-to-animal spillover, highlighting the 'generalist' nature of SARS-CoV-2 as a mammalian pathogen.

Type: Article
Title: Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from humans to animals and potential host adaptation
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-30698-6
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-30698-6
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 Springer Nature Limited. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Structural and Molecular Biology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10149851
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