Archives of Virology

, Volume 155, Issue 4, pp 445–453

Clarification and guidance on the proper usage of virus and virus species names

Brief Review

DOI: 10.1007/s00705-010-0600-9

Cite this article as:
Kuhn, J.H. & Jahrling, P.B. Arch Virol (2010) 155: 445. doi:10.1007/s00705-010-0600-9


A pivotal step in the development of a consistent nomenclature for virus classification was the introduction of the virus species concept by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) in 1991. Yet, almost two decades later, many virologists still are unable to differentiate between virus species and actual viruses. Here we attempt to explain the origin of this confusion, clarify the difference between taxa and physical entities, and suggest simple measures that could be implemented by ICTV Study Groups to make virus taxonomy and nomenclature more accessible to laboratory virologists.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick (IRF-Frederick), Division of Clinical Research (DCR)National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH)FrederickUSA
  2. 2.IRF-Frederick contract employee of Tunnell Consulting, Inc.King of PrussiaUSA

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