Phylogeography and genomic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 delta variant in Morocco
Keywords:SARS-CoV-2, delta variant, AY.33, mutation analysis, spike, phylogeography
Introduction: Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in December 2019, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has continuously evolved with many variants of concern emerging across the world.
Methodology: In order to monitor the evolution of these variants in Morocco, we analyzed a total of 2130 genomes of the delta variant circulating around the world. We also included 164 Moroccan delta variant sequences in our analysis.
Results: Our findings suggest at least four introductions from multiple international sources and a rise of a dominant delta sub-lineage AY.33 in Morocco. Moreover, we report three mutations in the N-terminal domain of the S protein specific to the Moroccan AY.33 isolates, T29A, T250I and T299I. The effect of these mutations on the secondary structure and the dynamic behavior of the S protein N-terminal domain was further determined.
Conclusions: We conclude that these mutations might have functional consequences on the S protein of SARS-CoV-2.
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