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MERS Clonal Expansion In Jeddah and Mecca
Recombinomics Commentary 16:00
May 8, 2014

Christian Drosten at the Virology Institute in Bonn has uploaded the 3 recent MERS sequences from patients in Jeddah (C8826 and C9055) collected on April 12 and April 14 from hospital A and C, respectively, as well as Mecca (C9355) collected on April 15.  The three earlier sequences were from two hospitals ((C7149 and C7770 from hospital A collected on April 3 and 7, respectively as well as C7569 from hospital B collected on April 5)).  The release of these nearly full sequences from patients in Jeddah and Mecca are to be commended and will hopefully encourage other sequencing labs to make sequences available on lab websites as soon as possible.

The first three sequences had nine polymorphisms that were in all three Jeddah patients, but not in any published sequence.  Subsequently, sequences from camels in Taif were described in an mBio paper and four were closely related (see list below).  However, none of the camel sequences had all 8 polymorphisms.  Two camel sequences (378 and 505) had 5 of the 8 polymorphisms and none of the camel sequences had A23953G, which encoded Q833R in the spike protein, or T28778A, which encoded L6Q in ORF8b.

The three newly released human sequences had all none of the polymorphisms. Thus, all six humans sequences from three hospitals in Jeddah as well as a hospital in Mecca uniquely matched each other signaling clonal expansion in western Saudi Arabia.

The emergence of this novel sub-clade and spread throughout Jeddah and Mecca raises serious pandemic concerns.

8 Polymorphisms Define Novel Jeddah Sub-clade                                  
Nucleotide  Protein    Camel
  C2490T                     378                       

  C5658T   P1794S    378 505 503 363          
  C9659T                      378 505 503 363
T12257C                     378 505                   

T16174C                             505 503               
C23804T                      378 505 503               
A23953G    Q833R                           
T28778A          L6Q                           
T28880C        L40P     378 505                   

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