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Strengthening the Interaction of the Virology Community with the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) by Linking Virus Names and Their Abbreviations to Virus Species

Charles H. Calisher 1 Thomas Briese 2 J. Rodney Brister 3 Rémi Charrel 4 Ralf Dürrwald 5 Hideki Ebihara 6 Charles Fulhorst 7 George Fú Gao 8 Mart Groschup 9 Andrew Haddow 10 Timothy Hyndman 11 Sandra Junglen 12 Boris Klempa 13 Jonas Klingström 14 Andrew Kropinski 15 Mart Krupovic 16 a Desiree Labeaud 17 Piet Maes 18 Norbert Nowotny 19, 20 Márcio Roberto Teixeira Nunes 21 Susan Payne 22 Sheli Radoshitzky 10 Dennis Rubbenstroth 9 Sead Sabanadzovic 23 Takahide Sasaya 24 Mark Stenglein 1 Arvind Varsani 25 Victoria Wahl 26 Scott Weaver 7 Francisco Murilo Zerbini 27 Nikos Vasilakis 7 Jens Kuhn 28, *
Abstract : The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) is tasked with classifying viruses into taxa (orders to species) and devising taxon names. Virus names and virus name abbreviations are currently not within the ICTV's official remit and are not regulated by an official entity. Many scientists, medical/veterinary professionals, and regulatory agencies do not address evolutionary questions nor are they concerned with the hierarchical organization of the viral world and therefore have limited use for ICTV-devised taxa. Instead, these professionals look to the ICTV as an expert point source that provides the most current taxonomic affiliations of viruses of interests to facilitate document writing. These needs are currently unmet as an ICTV-supported, easily-searchable database that includes all published virus names and abbreviations linked to their taxa is not available. In addition, in stark contrast to other biological taxonomic frameworks, virus taxonomy currently permits individual species to have several members. Consequently, confusion emerges among those who are not aware of the difference between taxa and viruses, and because certain well-known viruses cannot be located in ICTV publications or be linked to their species. In addition, the number of duplicate names and abbreviations has increased dramatically in the literature. To solve this conundrum, the ICTV could mandate listing all viruses of established species and all reported unclassified viruses in forthcoming online ICTV Reports and create a searchable webpage using this information. The International Union of Microbiology Societies could also consider changing the mandate of the ICTV to include the nomenclature of all viruses in addition to taxon considerations. With such a mandate expansion, official virus names and name abbreviations could be catalogued and virus nomenclature could be standardized. As a result, the ICTV would become an even more useful resource for all stakeholders in virology.
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Charles H. Calisher, Thomas Briese, J. Rodney Brister, Rémi Charrel, Ralf Dürrwald, et al.. Strengthening the Interaction of the Virology Community with the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) by Linking Virus Names and Their Abbreviations to Virus Species. Systematic Biology, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2019, 68 (5), pp.828-839. ⟨10.1093/sysbio/syy087⟩. ⟨pasteur-01977321⟩

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