TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A team from Academia Sinica, Taiwan’s premier government-funded research institute, has analyzed genomic distributions of SARS-CoV-2 and discovered a dominant strain type.
The team’s research was first published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on the United States of America (PNAS) on Nov. 12.
In the study, the team discovered that the genome of SARS-CoV-2 to date can be classified into six major types characterized by 14 signature single nucleotide variations (SNVs). According to the research, type VI has become the major type, having first been reported in China before spreading around the globe.
The team first used the complete sequences of 1,932 SARS-CoV-2 genomes, downloaded from three different sources on March 31, 2020, to perform various cluster analyses and consistently discovered six types of strains and identified signature SNVs in each.
According to the study, the six types of strains and their underlying signature SNVs were validated in two subsequent analyses of 6,228 and 38,248 SARS-CoV-2 genomes the team conducted as more virus genomes became available later.
The team’s research into four signature SNVs of type VI suggests that SNVs may become an important consideration in SARS-CoV-2 classification and surveillance.
According to the study, understanding nucleotide variations in the SARS-CoV-2 genome will provide insights into the development of the pandemic and be useful to the management of the disease.