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Tracking SARS-COV-2 variants using Nanopore sequencing in Ukraine in 2021

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Yakovleva, Anna 
Kovalenko, Ganna 
Redlinger, Matthew 
Liulchuk, Mariia G. 
Bortz, Eric 


The use of real-time genomic epidemiology has enabled the tracking of the global spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), informing evidence-based public health decision making. Ukraine has experienced four waves of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) between spring 2020 and spring 2022. However, insufficient capacity for local genetic sequencing limited the potential application of SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance for public health response in the country. Herein, we report local sequencing of 103 SARS-CoV-2 genomes from patient samples collected in Kyiv in July-December 2021 using Oxford Nanopore technology. Together with other published Ukrainian SARS-CoV-2 genomes, our data suggest that the third wave of the epidemic in Ukraine (June-December 2021) was dominated by the Delta Variant of Concern (VOC). Our phylogeographic analysis revealed that in summer 2021 Delta VOC was introduced into Ukraine from multiple locations worldwide, with most introductions coming from Central and Eastern European countries. The wide geographic range of Delta introductions coincides with increased volume of travel to Ukraine particularly from locations outside of Europe in summer 2021. This study highlights the need to urgently integrate affordable and easily scaled pathogen sequencing technologies in locations with less developed genomic infrastructure, in order to support local public health decision making.


Funder: Somerville College MTST Development Award and Catherine Hughes Fund

Funder: Catherine Hughes Fund

Funder: Global Challenges Research Fund and Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund

Funder: Branco Weiss Fellowship – Society in Science; doi:


Article, /631/326/596/4130, /631/61/212/2306, /631/61/514, article

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Nature Publishing Group UK
Wellcome Trust (206298/B/17/Z, 206298/B/17/Z)
US NIGMS Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program (Alaska INBRE P20GM103395, Alaska INBRE P20GM103395)
Office of AIDS Research (AI135992)