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A second cluster of COVID-19 cases imported from Europe occured in Vietnam from early March 2020. We describe 44 SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR positive patients (cycle threshold value <30) admitted to the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi between March 6 and April 15 2020. Whole SARS-CoV-2 genomes from these patients were sequenced using Illumina Miseq and analysed for common genetic variants and relationships to local and globally circulating strains. Results showed that 32 cases were Vietnamese with a median age of 37 years (range 15-74 years), and 23 were male. Most cases were acquired outside Vietnam, mainly from the UK (n = 15), other European countries (n = 14), Russia (n = 6) and countries in Asia (n = 3). No cases had travelled from China. Forty-one cases had symptoms at admission, typically dry cough (n = 36), fever (n = 20), sore throat (n = 14) and diarrhoea (n = 12). Hospitalisation was long with a median of 25 days, most commonly from 20-29 days. All SARS-CoV-2 genomes were similar (92-100% sequence homology) to the reference sequence Wuhan_1 (NC_045512), and 32 strains belonged to the B.1.1 lineage. The three most common variants were linked, and included C3037T, C14408T (nsp12: P323L) and A23403G (S: D614G) mutations. This group of mutations often accompanied variant C241T (39/44 genomes) or GGG 28881..28883 AAC (33/44 genomes). The prevalence of the former reflected probable European origin of viruses, and the transition D614G was dominant in Vietnam. New variants were identified; however, none could be associated with disease severity.

Original publication




Journal article


PloS one

Publication Date





Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU), Hanoi, Vietnam.


OUCRU COVID-19 Research Group, Humans, Pneumonia, Viral, Coronavirus Infections, Prevalence, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Middle Aged, Vietnam, Female, Male, Genetic Variation, Young Adult, Pandemics, Betacoronavirus, Travel-Related Illness, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2