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Variants arising all over the world

Learn about systems used to map and track coronavirus variants around the world.
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This animation from Nextstrain shows the truly global nature of the genomic surveillance programme during the current pandemic. It also demonstrates how different viral lineages emerge and spread and how this varies across different geographies. Viral lineages arise due to errors of replication followed by selective evolutionary pressure or genetic drift. If these new lineages affect transmission or clinical severity, they may be deemed as a variant of concern. One of these variants of concern is delta, and we can see the light blue colours of delta overtaking the animation extremely quickly. Towards the end of the animation, we can also see Omicron beginning to emerge in red.

With genomic surveillance networks hard at work within their own countries, the world is able to unite their data so that global movements in the pandemic can be understood.

In this video, you will see variants tracked from the beginning of the pandemic until the end of December 2021. This video was made using Nextstrain – an open-source project to harness the scientific and public health potential of pathogen genome data. NextStrain uses data aggregated by GISAID. GISAID is a non-profit organisation that encourages rapid data sharing for influenza and coronaviruses. GISAID was formed in response to the influenza outbreaks in 2006, and years later has proven to be critical for responding to coronaviruses causing COVID-19.

Can you spot certain variants appearing in your country? Have any variants shocked you in their speed or spread? Add your thoughts in the comment section

You can use the Nextstrain website to set your own timelines or specific criteria, give it a try if you like!

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The Power of Genomics to Understand the COVID-19 Pandemic

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