Guangdong MERS Is Al Batin/Al Hasa – Jeddah Recombinant

Saturday, June 6, 2015
By Paul Martin
June 6, 2015

The Chinese CDC has released a full MERS coronavirus sequence, ChinaGD01, from a patient who traveled to Guangdong from South Korea after infection by the index case in South Korea, his father. The timely release of the sequence, with a collection date of May 27, 2015, is to be commended.

The sequence has clear evidence of recombination with one cross-over site between positions 14716 and 16173 and a second cross over between 23804 and 24191 (within the S gene). The parental sequences are closely related to Hafr Al Batin_1_2013 / Al Hasa_1_2013 and Jeddah sequences, including the isolate from Florida/USA-2_Saudi Araia_2014, . In addition to having sequences from two parental clades the S gene has two novel non-synonymous changes, A1193E and V1209A.

The recombination is obvious, as are additional examples within each parental sequence, raising concerns of efficient evolution. The sequences in South Korea are expected to match the published sequence from Guangdong.

In South Korea the number of confirmed cases has increased to 50 and 3 super spreaders have been identified (index, case 14, case 16) although all cases reported to date appear to be linked to nosocomial events at multiple hospitals in South Korea.

A full sequence from a South Korea case is expected to be released tomorrow, although a match with the Guangdong sequence is expected.

In addition, Riyadh sequences collected in February / March of 2015 also have evidence of obvious recombination, raising concerns of efficient evolution of multiple MERS clades in Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

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