Virology, Nebraska Center for


Date of this Version



Scientific Reports | (2023) 13:11657 |


Open access.


SARS-CoV-2 belongs to the family Coronaviridae which includes multiple human pathogens that have an outsized impact on aging populations. As a novel human pathogen, SARS-CoV-2 is undergoing continuous adaptation to this new host species and there is evidence of this throughout the scientific and public literature. However, most investigations of SARS-CoV-2 evolution have focused on largescale collections of data across diverse populations and/or living environments. Here we investigate SARS-CoV-2 evolution in epidemiologically linked individuals within a single outbreak at a skilled nursing facility beginning with initial introduction of the pathogen. The data demonstrate that SARSCoV- 2 was introduced to the facility multiple times without establishing an interfacility transmission chain, followed by a single introduction that infected many individuals within a week. This largescale introduction by a single genotype then persisted in the facility. SARS-CoV-2 sequences were investigated at both the consensus and intra-host variation levels. Understanding the variability in SARS-CoV-2 during transmission chains will assist in understanding the spread of this disease and can ultimately inform best practices for mitigation strategies.