James Cook University
Although the recent Zika virus (ZIKV) epidemic in the Americas and its link to birth defects have attracted a great deal of attention, much remains unknown about ZIKV disease epidemiology and ZIKV evolution, in part owing to a lack of genomic data. Here we address this gap in knowledge by using multiple sequencing approaches to generate 110 ZIKV genomes from clinical and mosquito samples from 10 countries and territories, greatly expanding the observed viral genetic diversity from this outbreak. We analysed the timing and patterns of introductions into distinct geographic regions; our phylogenetic evidence suggests rapid expansion of the outbreak in Brazil and multiple introductions of outbreak strains into Puerto Rico, Honduras, Colombia, other Caribbean islands, and the continental United States. We find that ZIKV circulated undetected in multiple regions for many months before the first locally transmitted cases were confirmed, highlighting the importance of surveillance of viral infections. We identify mutations with possible functional implications for ZIKV biology and pathogenesis, as well as those that might be relevant to the effectiveness of diagnostic tests.
Metsky HC, Matranga CB, Wohl S, Schaffner SF, Freije CA, Winnicki SM, West K, Qu J, Baniecki ML, Gladden-Young A, Lin AE, Tomkins-Tinch CH, Ye SH, Park DJ, Luo CY, Barnes KG, Shah RR, Chak B, Barbosa-Lima G, Delatorre E, Vieira YR, Paul LM, Tan AL, Barcellona CM, Porcelli MC, Vasquez C, Cannons AC, Cone MR, Hogan KN, Kopp EW, Anzinger JJ, Garcia KF, Parham LA, Ramírez RMG, Montoya MCM, Rojas DP, Brown CM, Hennigan S, Sabina B, Scotland S, Gangavarapu K, Grubaugh ND, Oliveira G, Robles-Sikisaka R, Rambaut A, Gehrke L, Smole S, Halloran ME, Villar L, Mattar S, Lorenzana I, Cerbino-Neto J, Valim C, Degrave W, Bozza PT, Gnirke A, Andersen KG, Isern S, Michael SF, Bozza FA, Souza TML, Bosch I, Yozwiak NL, MacInnis BL, Sabeti PC. (2017). Zika virus evolution and spread in the Americas. Nature, 546(7658)