• Direct.Latest news about the coronavirus

  • Health: Five strains of the coronavirus are behind the Spanish infections

  • Covid 19. 'Supercontagators' and with a different strain from the rest of Europe, this is the Spanish epidemic

Tracking the virus with strain tracking techniques serves to put on the table how the measures designed to control and curb it work or not.

Since the original virus left China almost 11 months ago, many new families of strains have formed on each of the continents.

And, therefore, today it is possible to know how one that came from the old continent, Italy or the Netherlands, in the first wave mutated during the new normal among the Spanish and dispersed

during the second wave across Europe.

phylogenetics work

developed by researchers from the University of Basel (Switzerland), in coordination with the Spanish Consortium for Genomic Virus Sequencing, SeqCOVID-Spain, has found

a variant of SARS-CoV-2 that arose presumably in Spain

and amplified in our country at the beginning of the summer of 2020, which has spread remarkably in several European countries.

In this sense, it should be noted that the variant was observed for the first time in Spain in June and has been in frequencies above 40% since July. Outside of our country, the presence of this variant has increased from very low values ​​before 15 July, to 40-70% in Switzerland, Ireland and the United Kingdom in September.

It is also

common in Norway, Latvia, the Netherlands and France

, although little can be said of other European countries because few recent sequences are available.

According to Iñaki Comas, scientist at the Institute of Biomedicine of Valencia (IBV-CSIC) and coordinator of SeqCOVID-Spain, "

we have verified that the amplification was in our country

, but regarding the origin we still study it, since there are coincident samples in the time of

Dutch origin

". Along with Holland, the truth is that there are

other research

that strongly point to the origin from another country during the first wave:



The dark areas of this work shed light


already carried out by the team of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC) and the Institute of Health Research (IDIS), led by Professor Antonio Salas and Federico Martinón.

"The authors detect a clade [virus tribes with genetic peculiarities characteristic of each of them] that emerged in June 2020. In our nomenclature, this clade derives from what we call A2a. At the time, we detected that three of the Most important Spanish families in the first wave also derive from A2a (we call them A2a10, A2a5 and its subclade A2a5c, and A2a4). This is not surprising, A2a is the most common clade in the world, and probably had its

primal origins in Italy


Why is this strain prevalent throughout the continent?

It is currently unclear if this variant is spreading due to a virus transmission advantage or if the

high incidence in Spain followed by diffusion through tourists

is sufficient to explain the rapid increase in several countries.

Drexel University,

Gail Rosen, professor at the Faculty of Genetics, explains that "now, the predominant variant in Spain is shared with other countries in Europe. This suggests that potentially the most recent infection is due to the reintroduction of the virus from other countries, perhaps due to travel (whether they are returning travelers or visitors). "Another of the authors of the new work, Fernando Gonzalez Candelas, professor of genetics at the University of Valencia and Fisabio, as well as a member of the Institute for Integrative Systems Biology (I2SysBio), stresses that "

Spain is the second country in Europe that performs the most genetic sequences

, the fourth in the world.

And this must be taken into account. "In addition, González explains that" with this philodynamic work, we see how the transmission rate slowed down during confinement and then activated later.

And this allowed us to follow the trail of the virus. "In this sense, Salas insists that all these works certify that"

super contagion is the true engine of the pandemic


And this will continue to happen repeatedly as long as the dispersion dynamics does not stop. "Regarding this phenomenon, Comas emphasizes that" in the first wave it was seen that there are variants that, riding on

super-scatter events, increase their frequency

and then with mobility they gain a lot of ground », noting that, for example," in France a variant is being described that is increasing a lot in frequency ".

Greater spread of the virus without stopping measures

One of the teachings of this work is that, as the IDIS researcher points out, "after a period of control of the first wave of the pandemic,

the virus continues to be transmitted in the same way as long as the measures that help to control it are relaxed


It also shows once again that the study of the virus genomes is helping us to understand many aspects of the pandemic, and that a greater effort of analysis is urgently needed to find out the amount of information available. ". According to Comas,"

most mutations in a virus or organism have no effect

and, since this virus mutates at a relatively slow rate (two mutations / month), it is difficult to think that it has it. "However, in this case" we found

a mutation particularly in the spicule, which is somewhat the gate of interaction with human cells

, and also joins another already existing one.

And this second wave was seen in the first wave that it had a certain advantage in transmission. "The specialist comments that" the fact that there are two mutations in the same protein and that it has managed to reach some countries and increase in frequency compared to other variants , same

it does indicate that certain advantage

", but it cannot be assured" because

there are many epidemiological processes that could also explain

"This situation. To clarify the issue, says Comas, the CSIC has set up a working group that will try to define" what is the potential effect that these mutations may have. "

To continue reading for free

Sign inSign up


subscribe to Premium

and you will have access to all the web content of El Mundo

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

Know more