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Background information about the project “Mutational Dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 in Austria”

The project “Mutational Dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 in Austria” was launched on 27 March 2020 by CeMM, the Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, in close collaboration with the Medical University of Vienna. An interdisciplinary team at CeMM under the project leadership of virologist Andreas Bergthaler and computational biologist Christoph Bock pledged to investigate SARS-CoV-2 genomes in Austria using cutting-edge next-generation sequencing techniques and viral sequence analyses.

The main aims are to study mutations circulating in the Austrian population, work closely with epidemiologists and public health experts, and perform in-depth computational analyses to learn about the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 and contribute to decipher the underlying mutational dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project aims for a better molecular understanding of SARS-CoV-2 biology and its transmission and mutational properties in the human population. With more than 98% of all SARS-CoV-2 virus genomes deposited in the public database GISAID (currently 747 full-length high coverage genomes, Nov 11 2020), this project contributes to international research to track SARS-CoV-2 variants and mutations worldwide.

Together with a network of excellent national and international collaboration partners from Austrian universities, hospitals, diagnostic laboratories and federal authorities, this project provides valuable insights for health care professionals, epidemiologists and public health experts. We also pursue fundamental scientific questions to understand how the virus evolves during human-to-human transmission using Austrian infection clusters that are epidemiologically-defined at very high resolution. More information about our scientific results so far can be found here.

For any questions, please contact the project team at sars-cov-2@cemm.at .