Accommodating individual travel history and unsampled diversity in Bayesian phylogeographic inference of SARS-CoV-2

Philippe Lemey, Samuel L. Hong, Verity Hill, Guy Baele, Chiara Poletto, Vittoria Colizza, Áine O’Toole, John T. McCrone, Kristian G. Andersen, Michael Worobey, Martha I. Nelson, Andrew Rambaut, Marc A. Suchard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Spatiotemporal bias in genome sampling can severely confound discrete trait phylogeographic inference. This has impeded our ability to accurately track the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the availability of unprecedented numbers of SARS-CoV-2 genomes. Here, we present an approach to integrate individual travel history data in Bayesian phylogeographic inference and apply it to the early spread of SARS-CoV-2. We demonstrate that including travel history data yields i) more realistic hypotheses of virus spread and ii) higher posterior predictive accuracy compared to including only sampling location. We further explore methods to ameliorate the impact of sampling bias by augmenting the phylogeographic analysis with lineages from undersampled locations. Our reconstructions reinforce specific transmission hypotheses suggested by the inclusion of travel history data, but also suggest alternative routes of virus migration that are plausible within the epidemiological context but are not apparent with current sampling efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5110
JournalNature communications
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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