About this Research Topic
In December 2019, Chinese Health Authorities reported an outbreak of a novel coronavirus (CoV) disease 2019 (COVID-19) to the WHO Country Office in China. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease with a spectrum of symptoms from mild to severe pneumonia and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Since the first outbreak in Wuhan, SARS-CoV-2 has spread globally, prompting the WHO to declare it a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in March 2020. The pandemic is still ongoing in more than 210 countries and territories with more than 12 million confirmed cases and over 500,000 deaths due to the disease. This research collection aims to summarize and highlight studies on the molecular epidemiology, population genetics, antigenic diversity, transmission dynamics and evolution of SARS-CoV-2. Findings from this collection will contribute to our understanding of the origin of the virus, its evolution after “jumping” into humans and help inform surveillance, diagnosis, treatment and public health control interventions of SARS-CoV-2.
This Research Topic welcomes studies into the molecular epidemiology and transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 infections at the national and global scales. From the onset of the pandemic, SARS-CoV-2 transmission has varied spatiotemporally with transmission hotspots, i.e. epicenters, shifting from Asia to Europe, followed by North America and now South America. Recent findings from genomic and proteomic studies show that SARS-CoV-2 is continuing to evolve by acquiring mutations. The consequences of these genetic variations respect to virology, pathogenesis and infectivity and their global distribution needs to be investigated to improve treatment and control interventions. It is also imperative to study possible association of mutant SARS-CoV-2 strains with COVID-19 phenotypes – mild, moderate, severe and critical illness among patients of different age groups and those with underlying comorbidities across different transmission settings.
Secondly, this Research Topic invites papers from studies looking into the genomics, population genetics, phylogenetics and evolution of SARS-CoV-2 across different geographical regions. As the pandemic continues to unfold SARS-CoV-2 “OMIC data” including genomics, proteomics and transcriptomics data are being churned out at an unparalleled pace. Large scale analysis of these data is needed to uncover transmission networks, evolution and selection events, and the population genetic structure of SARS-CoV-2 in the affected countries. Studies along these lines of the theme are welcome but authors are encouraged to include temporal and spatial data, and where available, the role of public health control efforts and/or treatment on the results will be prioritized for the Collection. Where available, this theme also encourages submissions on how OMIC data can be used to predict clinical outcomes and treatment efficacies.
Studies on serological and molecular diagnostics tools applied in the context of source- tracking SARS-CoV-2 infections and for surveillance to identify transmission hotspots will be included in this collection. Studies on serological/immunological markers of infection/exposure in both clinical and field settings will fit within this theme as well. This thematic area of the Research Collection also encourages submissions on studies on the antigenic diversity of SARS-CoV-2 and how this may contribute to the development of an effective vaccine for control COVID-19 prevention.
Image by Thorey Jonsdottir, Ph.D. candidate, Burnet Institute for Medical Research, firstname.lastname@example.org
Keywords: Molecular epidemiology, SARS-CoV-2, population genetics, evolution, phylogenetics, Sero-epidemiology, genomics, COVID-19, surveillance, transmission.
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.