A new variant of the coronavirus, identified as 20A.EU1 by researchers from Switzerland and Spain, was first observed in Spain in June. It has been recorded in Spain at frequencies of above 40% since July, the study said. Elsewhere, the new variant of the coronavirus has increased from “very low” values prior to July 15 to 40% to 70% in Switzerland, Ireland, and the U.K. in September. It was also found to be prevalent in Norway, Latvia, the Netherlands, and France.
The paper to be reviewed
A variant of SARS-CoV-2 emerged in early summer 2020, presumably in Spain, and has since spread to multiple European countries. The variant was first observed in Spain in June and has been at frequencies above 40% since July. Outside of Spain, the frequency of this variant has increased from very low values prior to 15th July to 40-70% in Switzerland, Ireland, and the United Kingdom in September. It is also prevalent in Norway, Latvia, the Netherlands, and France. Little can be said about other European countries because few recent sequences are available. Sequences in this cluster (20A.EU1) differ from ancestral sequences at 6 or more positions, including the mutation A222V in the spike protein and A220V in the nucleoprotein. We show that this variant was exported from Spain to other European countries multiple times and that much of the diversity of this cluster in Spain is observed across Europe. It is currently unclear whether this variant is spreading because of a transmission advantage of the virus or whether high incidence in Spain followed by dissemination through tourists is sufficient to explain the rapid rise in multiple countries.