The results of the SARS-CoV-2 genome analysis reveal that the viruses circulating in Latvia are related to the virus types identified elsewhere in Europe. The results of the phylogenetic analysis, in turn, indicate that the virus has entered Latvia several times from different continents, and so far there is no evidence of widespread infection within Latvia.
Current data confirm that all newly detected cases have been imported from abroad, which indicates a positive effectiveness of Covid-19 control measures in Latvia.
To date, there have not been enough studies in the world to describe the effects of various mutations on the aggressiveness or danger of the virus, but it is now thought that a particular mutation is associated with increased infectivity. This type of virus has spread rapidly on all continents since its appearance in late January, and the mutation has been found in almost 80% of virus isolates or materials worldwide.
The currently obtained data show that in Latvia the specific virus mutation could be present in at least 95% of infection cases. Due to the fact that the analysis of the viral genome allows to trace the routes of infection, the results of the phylogenetic analysis are regularly reported to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (SPKC), which further uses this information for epidemiological surveillance.
Scientists from the Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Center in cooperation with SPKC, “E. Gulbis Laboratory”, Central Laboratory and Latvian Center for Infectious Diseases have been researching the SARS-CoV-2 virus genome since April, obtaining important information about virus diversity and variability in Latvia.
With the financial support of the Ministry of Education and Science and the European Union Structural Funds, the full genome sequences of 133 SARS-CoV-2 viruses circulating in Latvia have been studied, representing 9.2% of all infections in Latvia.
According to this indicator, Latvia is one of the first places in the world in virus research. The information obtained on viral similarity at the genome level is used in the epidemiological investigation of Covid-19 infection in the SPC.