Binomial nomenclature for virus species: a consultation

Stuart G. Siddell, Peter J. Walker, Elliot J. Lefkowitz, Arcady R. Mushegian, Bas E. Dutilh, Balázs Harrach, Robert L. Harrison, Sandra Junglen, Nick J. Knowles, Andrew M. Kropinski, Mart Krupovic, Jens H. Kuhn, Max L. Nibert, Luisa Rubino, Sead Sabanadzovic, Peter Simmonds, Arvind Varsani, Francisco Murilo Zerbini, Andrew J. Davison*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
40 Downloads (Pure)


The Executive Committee of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) recognizes the need for a standardized nomenclature for virus species. This article sets out the case for establishing a binomial nomenclature and presents the advantages and disadvantages of different naming formats. The Executive Committee understands that adopting a binomial system would have major practical consequences, and invites comments from the virology community before making any decisions to change the existing nomenclature. The Executive Committee will take account of these comments in deciding whether to approve a standardized binomial system at its next meeting in October 2020. Note that this system would relate only to the formal names of virus species and not to the names of viruses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-525
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Virology
Issue number2
Early online date3 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Provisional acceptance dated added, based on publication dates.


  • Binomial species names
  • International committee on taxonomy of viruses (ICTV)
  • Nomenclature
  • Species nomenclature
  • Virus taxonomy


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