How to write virus names
Below, we provide a brief guide on how to write the names of viruses and virus taxa.
- Since it is virus names that are used repeatedly in a text, they are the names that need to be abbreviated. Species names should never be abbreviated.
- The formal taxon designation of each classified virus referred to in a manuscript should be identified at least once, preferably in the 'Introduction' or 'Materials and Methods' section, using formal family, genus, and species terms, e.g. “The replication of echovirus 7 (species Enterovirus B, genus Enterovirus, family Picornaviridae, order Picornavirales) was investigated in three cell lines.”
- Formal terms used for virus families, genera, and species should be those approved by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV):
Virus taxonomy: classification and nomenclature of viruses: Ninth Report of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. (2012) Ed: King, A.M.Q., Adams, M.J., Carstens, E.B. and Lefkowitz, E.J. San Diego: Elsevier.
Up-to-date information on virus taxonomy can be found on the ICTV web site under Current Taxonomy Release.
- Once formal taxonomic names have been given in a paper, vernacular terms may be used, e.g. "echovirus 7 is typical of enteroviruses and other picornaviruses in replicating rapidly in vitro".
- Additional information on the formal rules for orthography of virus taxa names can be found in section IX of the ICTV Code of Virus Classification and Nomenclature (see Code of Virus Classification and Nomenclature). The following references might also be helpful:
- Mayo MA. Constructing and writing the names of virus species--an editorial note. Arch Virol. 2000;145(2):427-8. PubMed PMID: 10752564.
- Van Regenmortel MH. How to write the names of virus species. Arch Virol. 1999;144(5):1041-2. Erratum in: Arch Virol 1999;144(8):1667. PubMed PMID: 10447501.