Russian Scientists "tracked" The Import Of SARS-Cov-2 Into The Country

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Russian Scientists "tracked" The Import Of SARS-Cov-2 Into The Country
Russian Scientists "tracked" The Import Of SARS-Cov-2 Into The Country

Video: Russian Scientists "tracked" The Import Of SARS-Cov-2 Into The Country

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Russian scientists "tracked" the import of SARS-Cov-2 into the country

A group of scientists from the N.I. A.A. Smorodintseva and other institutes studied 211 coronavirus genomes isolated from patients in March-April. Experts received a rather detailed picture of the beginning of the epidemic in Russia and found out how and where the pathogen "came" to our country. It turned out that there were at least 67 imports of coronavirus from various countries except … China.

Russian scientists "tracked" the import of SARS-Cov-2 into the country
Russian scientists "tracked" the import of SARS-Cov-2 into the country

Photo: Morning Brew / Unsplash

A group of scientists from the N.I. A.A. Smorodintseva and other institutes studied 211 coronavirus genomes isolated from patients in March-April. Having carried out a real detective investigation, experts got a fairly detailed picture of the beginning of the epidemic in Russia and found out how and where the pathogen "came" to our country. It turned out that there were at least 67 imports of coronavirus from other countries, including Switzerland and Saudi Arabia, but not from China.

Some of the results of the study, published on the medRxiv preprints website, confirm the already known data, but some of the findings surprised the scientists themselves.

Thus, the researchers made sure that the coronavirus was brought to Russia many times, at least 67 times. Some of the "export" variants of the virus may have been "intercepted" at the border or shortly after, but at least 9 imported pathogens created Russian variants (treasures) of SARS-Cov-2, which circulate only in our country.

“I am practically sure that both of these numbers are underestimated and that in reality there were much more deliveries; we will see this as we sequencing more,”wrote one of the authors of the work, evolutionary biologist Yegor Bazykin, on his Facebook page.

The study also showed that the virus was introduced to Russia quite late in comparison with other countries - in late February and early March. There is no evidence of earlier outbreaks in Russia. The same data was obtained by specialists from the National Medical Research Center of Hematology, who are analyzing the results of large-scale antibody testing in Russia. Grigory Efimov, head of the transplant immunology laboratory, told MedPortal that all Russians who had antibodies had had coronavirus since February.

“It was in China that people were sick in December and January. Most likely, the virus got to us not earlier than February. That is, when the outbreak happened, then they started to get sick,”the expert noted.

Scientists from the Research Institute of Influenza also managed to determine exactly or with a high degree of probability where one of the other variants of the virus was brought from by analyzing the travel data of the sick. In one case, a resident of Chechnya went on a hajj to Mecca, and the virus he brought is clustered with pathogens from Saudi Arabia. Top managers of YATEK flew to Switzerland and brought the “Swiss” version of the coronavirus to Yakutsk. The overwhelming number of imports were from European countries, and not a single one from China, although at that time about half of all SARS-Cov-2 varieties were there.

“Having arrived in Russia, the virus remained in Russia. We do not see any traces of the export of Russian variants to the outside (to those countries from where there is data) - unlike, for example, the UK, which was and remains a large exporter (not to mention Italy, Spain, etc., where the European epidemic is from) began). At the same time, almost immediately the virus began to circulate in Russia; we see the domestic Russian broadcast already on March 11,”said Yegor Bazykin.

The authors of the study paid special attention to the outbreak at the N.N. Vredena - a non-infectious hospital in St. Petersburg, where more than 700 people spent a whole month in quarantine, of which more than 400 were ill. The Governor of St. Petersburg said then that the source of the spread of the infection was an employee who had returned from Turkey. After analyzing several dozen samples taken at the hospital, the scientists found that the virus got there not once, but three or four times, and each of these cases gave its own small outbreak.

Despite the strict quarantine, the virus from the hospital spread throughout the city, and many people who were not related to the institute became infected with the "harmful" variant of SARS-Cov-2.

“Genomic epidemiology will become more powerful every week: the virus accumulates variability, and it becomes easier to distinguish between different variants. It is more useful when there are not very many cases, so it makes sense to deal with them individually. (If there are a lot of cases, everyone should sit at home stupidly and no epidemiology is particularly needed.), Bazykin wrote. - If we are going to defeat the coronavirus (and subsequent similar outbreaks) and at the same time live a normal life, then genomic epidemiology should become an ordinary resource - along with the usual epidemic investigations and (possibly) the use of mobile devices. I think that the scale of such studies should be increased many times."

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