Emergence and rapid transmission of SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 in the United States

Nicole L. Washington, Karthik Gangavarapu, Mark Zeller, Alexandre Bolze, Elizabeth T. Cirulli, Kelly M. Schiabor Barrett, Brendan B. Larsen, Catelyn Anderson, Simon White, Tyler Cassens, Sharoni Jacobs, Geraint Levan, Jason Nguyen, Jimmy M. Ramirez, Charlotte Rivera-Garcia, Efren Sandoval, Xueqing Wang, David Wong, Emily Spencer, Refugio Robles-SikisakaEzra Kurzban, Laura D. Hughes, Xianding Deng, Candace Wang, Venice Servellita, Holly Valentine, Peter De Hoff, Phoebe Seaver, Shashank Sathe, Kimberly Gietzen, Brad Sickler, Jay Antico, Kelly Hoon, Jingtao Liu, Aaron Harding, Omid Bakhtar, Tracy Basler, Brett Austin, Duncan MacCannell, Magnus Isaksson, Phillip G. Febbo, David Becker, Marc Laurent, Eric McDonald, Gene W. Yeo, Rob Knight, Louise C. Laurent, Eileen de Feo, Michael Worobey, Charles Y. Chiu, Marc A. Suchard, James T. Lu, William Lee, Kristian G. Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

174 Scopus citations


The highly transmissible B.1.1.7 variant of SARS-CoV-2, first identified in the United Kingdom, has gained a foothold across the world. Using S gene target failure (SGTF) and SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequencing, we investigated the prevalence and dynamics of this variant in the United States (US), tracking it back to its early emergence. We found that, while the fraction of B.1.1.7 varied by state, the variant increased at a logistic rate with a roughly weekly doubling rate and an increased transmission of 40%–50%. We revealed several independent introductions of B.1.1.7 into the US as early as late November 2020, with community transmission spreading it to most states within months. We show that the US is on a similar trajectory as other countries where B.1.1.7 became dominant, requiring immediate and decisive action to minimize COVID-19 morbidity and mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2587-2594.e7
Issue number10
StatePublished - 13 May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • 501Y.V1
  • B.1.1.7
  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • VOC-202012/01
  • genomic epidemiology
  • variant of concern


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