Virus taxonomy: The database of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV)

Elliot J. Lefkowitz*, Donald M. Dempsey, Robert Curtis Hendrickson, Richard J. Orton, Stuart G. Siddell, Donald B. Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

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

258 Citations (Scopus)
252 Downloads (Pure)


The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) is charged with the task of developing, refining, and maintaining a universal virus taxonomy. This task encompasses the classification of virus species and higher-level taxa according to the genetic and biological properties of their members; naming virus taxa; maintaining a database detailing the currently approved taxonomy; and providing the database, supporting proposals, and other virusrelated information from an open-access, public web site. The ICTV web site ( provides access to the current taxonomy database in online and downloadable formats, and maintains a complete history of virus taxa back to the first release in 1971. The ICTV has also published the ICTV Report on Virus Taxonomy starting in 1971. This Report provides a comprehensive description of all virus taxa covering virus structure, genome structure, biology and phylogenetics. The ninth ICTV report, published in 2012, is available as an open-access online publication from the ICTV web site. The current, 10th report (, is being published online, and is replacing the previous hard-copy edition with a completely open access, continuously updated publication. No other database or resource exists that provides such a comprehensive, fully annotated compendium of information on virus taxa and taxonomy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)D708-D717
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue numberD1
Early online date13 Oct 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Oct 2017


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