Virus nomenclature below the species level: a standardized nomenclature for laboratory-adapted strains and variants of viruses assigned to the family Filoviridae

J.H. Kuhn, Y. Bao, S. Bavari, S. Becker, S. Bradfute, J.R. Brister, A.A. Bukreyev, Y. Caí, K. Chandran, R.A. Davey, O. Dolnik, J.M. Dye, S. Enterlein, J.P. Gonzalez, P. Formenty, A.N. Freiberg, L.E. Hensley, A.N. Honko, G.M. Ignatyev, P.B. JahrlingK.M. Johnson, H.D. Klenk, G. Kobinger, M.G. Lackemeyer, E.M. Leroy, M.S. Lever, L.L. Lofts, E. Muhlberger, S.V. Netesov, G.G. Olinger, G. Palacios, J.L. Patterson, J.T. Paweska, L. Pitt, S.R. Radoshitzky, E.I. Ryabchikova, E.O. Saphire, A.M. Shestopalov, S.J. Smither, N.J. Sullivan, R. Swanepoel, A. Takada, J.S. Towner, G. van der Groen, V.E. Volchkov, V. Wahl-Jensen, T.K. Warren, K.L. Warfield, M. Weidmann, S.T. Nichol

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) organizes the classification of viruses into taxa, but is not responsible for the nomenclature for taxa members. International experts groups, such as the ICTV Study Groups, recommend the classification and naming of viruses and their strains, variants, and isolates. The ICTV Filoviridae Study Group has recently introduced an updated classification and nomenclature for filoviruses. Subsequently, and together with numerous other filovirus experts, a consistent nomenclature for their natural genetic variants and isolates was developed that aims at simplifying the retrieval of sequence data from electronic databases. This is a first important step toward a viral genome annotation standard as sought by the US National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Here, this work is extended to include filoviruses obtained in the laboratory by artificial selection through passage in laboratory hosts. The previously developed template for natural filovirus genetic variant naming ( ///-) is retained, but it is proposed to adapt the type of information added to each field for laboratory animal-adapted variants. For instance, the full-length designation of an Ebola virus Mayinga variant adapted at the State Research Center for Virology and Biotechnology "Vector" to cause disease in guinea pigs after seven passages would be akin to "Ebola virus VECTOR/C.porcellus-lab/COD/1976/Mayinga-GPA-P7". As was proposed for the names of natural filovirus variants, we suggest using the full-length designation in databases, as well as in the method section of publications. Shortened designations (such as "EBOV VECTOR/C.por/COD/76/May-GPA-P7") and abbreviations (such as "EBOV/May-GPA-P7") could be used in the remainder of the text depending on how critical it is to convey information contained in the full-length name. "EBOV" would suffice if only one EBOV strain/variant/isolate is addressed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalArchives of Virology
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1425-1432
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Viral diseases
  • Filoviruses
  • Nomenclature
  • Classification
  • Standardization
  • Taxonomy
  • Genetic variation
  • Identification
  • Isolation
  • Sampling
  • Sequencing
  • Sequence analysis


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