Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) originated in Wuhan, China, in early December 2019 has rapidly widespread worldwide, becoming one of the major global public health issues of the last centuries.
Over the course of the pandemic, due to the advanced whole-genome sequencing technologies, an unprecedented amount of genomes have been generated, providing invaluable insights into the ongoing evolution and epidemiology of the virus during the pandemic. Therefore, this large amount of data played an important role in the SARS-CoV-2 mitigation and control strategies.
The active monitoring and characterization of the SARS-CoV-2 lineages circulating worldwide is useful for a more specific diagnosis, better care, and timely treatment. In this review, a concise characterization of all the lineages and sub-lineages circulating and co-circulating across the world has been presented in order to determine the magnitude of the SARS-CoV-2 threat and to better understand the virus genetic diversity and its dispersion dynamics.