THE PROPAGATION OF SARS-CoV-2 VARIANTS IN ENGLAND: interplay between social dynamics and epidemiological features


Many efforts have been globally made since the beginning of 2020 against the COVID-19 epidemic. Nevertheless, the virus has further propagated and, as any other virus, it has mutated over time. Many of these mutations don't imply any substantial alteration in the epidemic spreading. However, some mutations may change part of the virus's properties such as the infectivity or the severity of the disease leading to chances in its spreading. Those mutations leading to a major impact on public health have been denominated as Variants of Interest (VOIs) and Variants of Concern (VOCs).

Large-scale sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 in England allowed us to analyse the spreading of the different variants since September 2020. During this period two VOCs have prevailed over the other mutations. We study the social dynamics by measuring how travel policies and lockdowns affect human mobility. In a second part we use a classical diffusion model based on effective distances in order to relate human mobility with the spreading and reconstruct the epidemic: determine arrival times, the outbreak location of each variant and also their spreading speed.

Classical methods to understand global disease dynamics appear not to be sufficient to capture the complexity of the system where non pharmaceutical interventions, vaccination programs and genomic variations interplay between each other.

The talk will be online at the link:

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Sandro Meloni

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