Evolution and epidemic spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Colombia: A year into the pandemic

Sergio Castañeda, Luz H. Patiño, Marina Muñoz, Nathalia Ballesteros, Enzo Guerrero-Araya, Daniel Paredes-Sabja, Carolina Flórez, Sergio Gomez, Carolina Ramírez-Santana, Gustavo Salguero, Juan E. Gallo, Alberto E. Paniz-Mondolfi, Juan David Ramírez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Current efforts to understand the epidemiology, transmission dynamics and emergence of novel SARS-CoV-2 variants worldwide has enabled the scientific community to generate critical information aimed at implementing disease surveillance and control measures, as well as to reduce the social, economic and health impact of the pandemic. Herein, we applied an epidemic model coupled with genomic analysis to assess the SARS-CoV-2 transmission dynamics in Colombia. This epidemic model allowed to identify the geographical distribution, Rt dynamics and predict the course of the pandemic considering current implementation of countermeasures. The analysis of the incidence rate per 100,000 inhabitants carried out across different regions of Colombia allowed visualizing the changes in the geographic distribution of cases. The cumulative incidence during the timeframe March 2020 to March 2021 revealed that Bogotá (8063.0), Quindío (5482.71), Amazonas (5055.68), Antioquia (4922.35) and Tolima (4724.41) were the departments with the highest incidence rate. The highest median Rt during the first period evaluated was 2.13 and 1.09 in the second period; with this model, we identified improving opportunities in health decision making related to controlling the pandemic, diagnostic testing capacity, case registration and reporting, among others. Genomic analysis revealed 52 circulating SARS-CoV-2 lineages in Colombia detected from 774 genomes sequenced throughout the first year of the pandemic. The genomes grouped into four main clusters and exhibited 19 polymorphisms. Our results provide essential information on the spread of the pandemic countrywide despite implementation of early containment measures. In addition, we aim to provide deeper phylogenetic insights to better understand the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in light of the latent emergence of novel variants and how these may potentially influence transmissibility and infectivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number837
Pages (from-to)2
Number of pages18
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jul 3 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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