Genomic epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 in a UK university identifies dynamics of transmission

The Cambridge Covid-19 testing Centre, University of Cambridge Asymptomatic COVID-19 Screening Programme Consortium, The COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) Consortium, Marta Gallis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads

Abstract

Understanding SARS-CoV-2 transmission in higher education settings is important to limit spread between students, and into at-risk populations. In this study, we sequenced 482 SARS-CoV-2 isolates from the University of Cambridge from 5 October to 6 December 2020. We perform a detailed phylogenetic comparison with 972 isolates from the surrounding community, complemented with epidemiological and contact tracing data, to determine transmission dynamics. We observe limited viral introductions into the university; the majority of student cases were linked to a single genetic cluster, likely following social gatherings at a venue outside the university. We identify considerable onward transmission associated with student accommodation and courses; this was effectively contained using local infection control measures and following a national lockdown. Transmission clusters were largely segregated within the university or the community. Our study highlights key determinants of SARS-CoV-2 transmission and effective interventions in a higher education setting that will inform public health policy during pandemics.
Original languageEnglish
Article number751
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalNature Communications
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Genomic epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 in a UK university identifies dynamics of transmission'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this