March 12, 2020

Submit Your Taxonomy Proposal for 2020

New taxonomy proposals for 2020 can now be submitted. Templates for submitting proposals are available from https://ictv.global/proposal_templates/. These 2020 templates MUST be used for all submissions. Please download all four files and read the Help file for detailed information on the submission process.

The deadline for proposal submission to Subcommittee Chairs is July 31, 2020.

February 19, 2020

Ratification of the 2019 Taxonomy is underway

The process of ratifying the next update to the ICTV taxonomy is underway. ICTV Members (consisting of Executive Committee (EC) Members, Subcommittee Members, Study Group Chairs, Life Members, and National Members) are currently voting to ratify the proposals discussed and approved by the EC during its 51st meeting in July, 2019 in Berlin.

Copies of the proposals under consideration can be found at https://ictv.global/ratification/.

Copies of proposals to be considered at the next meeting of the EC can be found under Pending Proposals.

February 5, 2020

Naming the 2019 Coronavirus

The virus causing the current outbreak of coronavirus disease has been named "severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2" (SARS-CoV-2). The manuscript describing the name also reports the work of the ICTV Coronaviridae Study Group that determined the virus belongs to the existing species, Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus.

The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) is concerned with the designation and naming of virus taxa (i.e. species, genus, family, etc.) rather than the designation of virus common names or disease names. For an outbreak of a new viral disease, there are three names to be decided: the disease, the virus and the species. The World Health Organization (WHO) is responsible for the first, expert virologists for the second, the ICTV for the third. 

WHO guidelines for naming of new human diseases can be found at "WHO issues best practices for naming new human infectious diseases" and "WHO Best Practices for the Naming of New Human Infectious Diseases" The following article may also be of interest:
"Naming diseases: First do no harm"

As experts on coronaviruses, the ICTV Coronaviridae Study Group has studied the classification (taxonomy) of the new virus. And given that they are experts on this family of viruses, they have also contributed their expertise to the naming of the virus.

The disease name (which in many cases is different from the virus name) has been designated as COVID-19 by the WHO. The virus name, as suggested by the Coronaviridae Study Group is "severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2" (SARS-CoV-2). And the species to which the virus SARS-CoV-2 belongs is Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus.