Study Shows COVID-19 Virus That Has Infected Most Patients in SoCal Came From New York and Europe

Wuhan, China? How about New York, Britain, or France?

A newly published study conducted by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has found that most COVID-19 (coronavirus) patients in Southern California during the early months of the pandemic appear to have been infected by a variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus introduced to the region from New York state via Europe, not directly from China, where the virus was first detected.

The findings were based on a genetic analysis of the virus found in tissue samples taken from 192 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 at Cedars-Sinai, whose hospital south of Beverly Boulevard is West Hollywood’s leading medical center..

Investigators said they believed their study was the first published genetic characterization of SARS-CoV-2 in the Los Angeles population using an advanced technique known as next-generation sequencing, which analyzes all the genes, or genome, of a virus or other organism. The study was published Oct. 7 in the journal JAMA Network Open.

“Based on these findings, we concluded SARS-CoV-2 was likely introduced into the Los Angeles community predominantly from New York state but also through multiple other independent transmission routes that included Washington state and China,” said Eric Vail, MD, assistant professor and director of Molecular Pathology in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Cedars-Sinai. He was co-senior author of the study.

Specifically, investigators found that about 15% of the virus samples taken from the COVID-19 patients at Cedars-Sinai between March 22 and April 15 were genetically similar to published profiles of SARS-CoV-2 viruses from Asia, while 82% shared close similarities with variants originating in Europe.

“It was surprising to us that New York appeared to be the source of so much of the Los Angeles virus, especially since the first confirmed COVID-19 case in the U.S. involved a person who had returned to Washington state after visiting China,” said Jasmine Plummer, PhD, research scientist at the Cedars-Sinai Center for Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics and associate director of the Applied Genomics, Computation & Translational Core. She was the other co-senior author of the study.

In addition, analysis of the SARS-CoV-2 virus using next-generation sequencing proved to be so precise that investigators were able to identify a unique cluster of 13 coronavirus patients, all members of the same religious denomination, living within a 2.4-mile radius of each other. This finding pointed to the potential for using this technique to monitor local community spread of the disease.

“This innovative research provides data to advance comparative genetic analysis of identifying features unique to SARS-CoV-2,” said David Frishberg, MD, chair of Academic Pathology and professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Cedars-Sinai. “Sequencing discoveries provide critical information about COVID-19 and its origins and evolution, and they may even help predict its future trajectory.”

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Manny
Manny
22 days ago

Nobody knows anything. This analysis will be challenged by another conclusion from another scientific study…….and on and on…..

Jay
Jay
22 days ago

Hank-

Thank you for sharing this important research and the glimmer of hope it may provide in facilitating tracking of community spread.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
22 days ago

people flew from Wuhan to Europe and the US. what’s the point of driving this Pro China narrative?

WeHo Resident
WeHo Resident
22 days ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

If you think lab results are pro or con any given country you probably should simply avoid reading anything scientific. There are news networks that will dumb this down to put whatever political spin on it that you are looking for.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
22 days ago
Reply to  WeHo Resident

it makes no different. no doubt people flew here for NY and Europe with the virus. doesn’t change the fact that the virus started in Wuhan.

Josh Kurpies
Josh Kurpies
21 days ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

It does make a difference in that we can better understand how this virus spread across the world and entered our Country in hopes that we can respond more quickly and effectively in the future. This isn’t about blaming China or blaming Trump – It’s quite clear they both failed us – it’s about learning from it so that it doesn’t happen again in the same way.

Jay
Jay
21 days ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

Amen, Josh!

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