Published in Science, the study concluded that the superspreader event “produced sustained community transmission and was exported, resulting in extensive regional, national, and international spread.”
Following the event, 99 people contracted the virus, including employees and their contacts, following the two-day event.
But after that, the COVID-19 two strains that spread among conference attendees dispersed across the world. A variant of the virus known as C2416T infected an estimated 245,000 people as of November 1. A European conference attendee likely imported that strain, which had not previously been detected in Massachusetts.
Another mutation tied to the conference, known as G26233T, infected an additional approximately 88,000 people.
Using a genomic epidemiology approach, the study authors analyzed 772 SARS-COV-2 genomes. Scientists from Harvard, MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital, led the research.
When the conference was held, there were only 30 confirmed COVID-19 infections in the U.S., according to the New York Times.
Biogen recently released a statement citing its role in advancing COVID-19 science and helping others afflicted by the virus in other ways. The company, for instance, is working with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Partners HealthCare to create a COVID-19-related biobank.
“Many Biogen colleagues have been eager to find ways to help others during this pandemic, and it is our hope that this biobank will provide hope and essential information during this difficult time,” said Dr. Maha Radhakrishnan, chief medical officer at the company.