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Review 1: "A year of genomic surveillance reveals how the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic unfolded in Africa"

This preprint explores the genetic changes of SARS-CoV-2 in Africa by offering an in-depth epidemiological analysis of virus introduction, circulation, and evolution over a year. Reviewers agree that the claims are reliable and supported by the data.

Published onAug 30, 2021
Review 1: "A year of genomic surveillance reveals how the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic unfolded in Africa"
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key-enterThis Pub is a Review of
A year of genomic surveillance reveals how the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic unfolded in Africa
Description

AbstractThe progression of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in Africa has so far been heterogeneous and the full impact is not yet well understood. Here, we describe the genomic epidemiology using a dataset of 8746 genomes from 33 African countries and two overseas territories. We show that the epidemics in most countries were initiated by importations, predominantly from Europe, which diminished following the early introduction of international travel restrictions. As the pandemic progressed, ongoing transmission in many countries and increasing mobility led to the emergence and spread within the continent of many variants of concern and interest, such as B.1.351, B.1.525, A.23.1 and C.1.1. Although distorted by low sampling numbers and blind-spots, the findings highlight that Africa must not be left behind in the global pandemic response, otherwise it could become a breeding ground for new variants.

RR:C19 Evidence Scale rating by reviewer:

  • Strong. The main study claims are very well-justified by the data and analytic methods used. There is little room for doubt that the study produced has very similar results and conclusions as compared with the hypothetical ideal study. The study’s main claims should be considered conclusive and actionable without reservation.

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Review:

The authors seek to understand the situation of COVID-19 in Africa. They addressed the question perfectly using the latest methods in this field of research. Answering these questions as a whole within a single context is important for the scientific and political community to take the viral transmission in Africa seriously. However, the results can be found on other websites—such as NEXTSTRAIN and Pangolin COVID-19 Lineage Assigner— and thus need to stand out from those sites.

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