Genomic characterization of SARS-CoV-2 in Guinea, West Africa

Mamadou Saliou Sow, Josue Togo, Lacy M. Simons, Souleymane Taran Diallo, Mohamed Lamine Magassouba, Mamadou Bhoye Keita, Anou Moise Somboro, Youssouf Coulibaly, Egon A. Ozer, Judd F. Hultquist, Robert Leo Murphy, Almoustapha Issiaka Maiga, Mamoudou Maiga, Ramon Lorenzo-Redondo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


SARS-CoV-2 has claimed several million lives since its emergence in late 2019. The ongoing evolution of the virus has resulted in the periodic emergence of new viral variants with distinct fitness advantages, including enhanced transmission and immune escape. While several SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern trace their origins back to the African continent—including Beta, Eta, and Omicron–most countries in Africa remain under-sampled in global genomic surveillance efforts. In an effort to begin filling these knowledge gaps, we conducted retrospective viral genomic surveillance in Guinea from October 2020 to August 2021. We found that SARS-CoV-2 clades 20A, 20B, and 20C dominated throughout 2020 until the coincident emergence of the Alpha and Eta variants of concern in January 2021. The Alpha variant remained dominant throughout early 2021 until the arrival of the Delta variant in July. Surprisingly, despite the small sample size of our study, we also found the persistence of the early SARS-CoV-2 clade 19B as late as April 2021. Together, these data help fill in our understanding of the SARS-CoV-2 population dynamics in West Africa early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0299082
JournalPloS one
Issue number3 March
StatePublished - Mar 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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