Genomic epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 in a university outbreak setting and implications for public health planning
MetadataShow full item record
Whole genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 has occurred at an unprecedented scale, and can be exploited for characterising outbreak risks at the fine-scale needed to inform control strategies. One setting at continued risk of COVID-19 outbreaks are higher education institutions, associated with student movements at the start of term, close living conditions within residential halls, and high social contact rates. Here we analysed SARS-CoV-2 whole genome sequences in combination with epidemiological data to investigate a large cluster of student cases associated with University of Glasgow accommodation in autumn 2020, Scotland. We identified 519 student cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection associated with this large cluster through contact tracing data, with 30% sequencing coverage for further analysis. We estimated at least 11 independent introductions of SARS-CoV-2 into the student population, with four comprising the majority of detected cases and consistent with separate outbreaks. These four outbreaks were curtailed within a week following implementation of control measures. The impact of student infections on the local community was short-term despite an underlying increase in community infections. Our study highlights the need for context-specific information in the formation of public health policy for higher educational settings.
Nickbakhsh , S , Hughes , J , Christofidis , N , Griffiths , E , Shaaban , S , Enright , J , Smollett , K , Nomikou , K , Palmalux , N , Tong , L , Carmichael , S , Sreenu , V B , Orton , R , Goldstein , E J , Tomb , R M , The COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) Consortium , Templeton , K , Gunson , R N , da Silva Filipe , A , Milosevic , C , Thomson , E , Robertson , D L , Holden , M , Illingworth , C J R & Smith-Palmer , A 2022 , ' Genomic epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 in a university outbreak setting and implications for public health planning ' , Scientific Reports , vol. 12 , 11735 . https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-15661-1
Copyright © The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
DescriptionFunding: The CVR authors are supported by the Medical Research Council [MC_UU_12014/12 and MC_UU_12018/12]. COG-UK is supported by funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC) part of UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) [Grant code: MC_PC_19027], and Genome Research Limited, operating as the Wellcome Sanger Institute.
Items in the St Andrews Research Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.