Authors: Roshdy WH, Khalifa MK, San JE, Tegally H, Wilkinson E, Showky SM, Darren P, Moir M, Naguib AEN, Gomaa MR, Fahim MAEH, Mohsen AGR, Hassany M, Lessells R, Al-Karmalawy AA, EL-Shesheny R, Kandeil AM, Ali MA, de Oliveira T
COVID-19 was first diagnosed in Egypt on 14 February 2020. By the end of November 2021, over 333,840 cases and 18,832 deaths had been reported. As part of the national genomic surveillance, 1027 SARS-CoV-2 near whole-genomes were generated and published by the end of July 2021. Here we describe the genomic epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 in Egypt over this period using a subset of 976 high-quality Egyptian genomes analyzed together with a representative set of global sequences within a phylogenetic framework. A single lineage, C.36, introduced early in the pandemic was responsible for most of the cases in Egypt. Furthermore, to remain dominant in the face of mounting immunity from previous infections and vaccinations, this lineage acquired several mutations known to confer an adaptive advantage. These results highlight the value of continuous genomic surveillance in regions where VOCs are not predominant and the need for enforcement of public health measures to prevent expansion of the existing lineages.