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S-Gene Target Failure as a Marker of Variant B.1.1.7 Among SARS-CoV-2 Isolates in the Greater Toronto Area, December 2020 to March 2021

Educational Objective
To identify the key insights or developments described in this article

A novel variant of SARS-CoV-2, B.1.1.7, originally discovered in the UK, is rapidly overtaking wild-type SARS-CoV-2 globally,1 due to a substantial transmission advantage. This variant is estimated to be 40% to 80% more transmissible2 and 35% more lethal3 than the wild-type virus.

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Kevin A. Brown, PhD, Public Health Ontario, 480 University Ave, Ste 300, Toronto, ON M5G1V2, Canada (kevin.brown@utoronto.ca).

Accepted for Publication: March 26, 2021.

Published Online: April 8, 2021. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.5607

Author Contributions: Drs Brown and Goneau had full access to all the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Concept and design: Brown, Goneau.

Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: All authors.

Drafting of the manuscript: Brown, Goneau.

Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors.

Statistical analysis: Brown.

Administrative, technical, or material support: Brown, Gubbay, Hopkins, Buchan, Goneau.

Overseeing sample testing including whole genome sequencing and analysis: Patel.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

References
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Kupferschmidt  K .  Danish scientists see tough times ahead as variant rises.   Science. 2021;371(6529):549-550. doi:10.1126/science.371.6529.549PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
2.
Volz  E , Mishra  S , Chand  M ,  et al.  Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7 in England: insights from linking epidemiological and genetic data.   MedRxiv. Preprint posted on January 24, 2021. Accessed January 28, 2021. doi:10.1101/2020.12.30.20249034Google Scholar
3.
Davies  NG , Abbott  S , Barnard  RC ,  et al; CMMID COVID-19 Working Group; COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) Consortium.  Estimated transmissibility and impact of SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7 in England.   Science. 2021;372(6538):eabg3055. doi:10.1126/science.abg3055PubMedGoogle Scholar
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Ganyani  T , Kremer  C , Chen  D ,  et al.  Estimating the generation interval for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) based on symptom onset data, March 2020.   Euro Surveill. 2020;25(17). doi:10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.17.2000257PubMedGoogle Scholar
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Public Health Ontario. SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern results of point prevalence study. Published February 16, 2021. Accessed March 11, 2021. https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/ncov/voc/2021/02/sars-cov-2-variants-point-prevalence.pdf
6.
Public Health England. Investigation of novel SARS-CoV-2 variant: technical briefing 5. Posted January 14, 2021. Accessed March 1, 2021. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/957504/Variant_of_Concern_VOC_202012_01_Technical_Briefing_5_England.pdf
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