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Characterisation of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) genetic diversity through space and time can reveal trends in virus importation and domestic circulation and permit the exploration of questions regarding the early transmission dynamics. Here, we present a detailed description of SARS-CoV-2 genomic epidemiology in Ecuador, one of the hardest hit countries during the early stages of the coronavirus-19 pandemic. We generated and analysed 160 whole genome sequences sampled from all provinces of Ecuador in 2020. Molecular clock and phylogeographic analysis of these sequences in the context of global SARS-CoV-2 diversity enable us to identify and characterise individual transmission lineages within Ecuador, explore their spatiotemporal distributions, and consider their introduction and domestic circulation. Our results reveal a pattern of multiple international importations across the country, with apparent differences between key provinces. Transmission lineages were mostly introduced before the implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions, with differential degrees of persistence and national dissemination.

Original publication




Journal article


Virus Evol

Publication Date





SARS-CoV-2, molecular epidemiology, phylogenetics, phylogeography, transmission lineages