[Source: Nature Microbiology, full page: (LINK). Summary, edited.]
The species Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus: classifying 2019-nCoV and naming it SARS-CoV-2
Coronaviridae Study Group of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses
Nature Microbiology (2020)
The present outbreak of a coronavirus-associated acute respiratory disease called coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) is the third documented spillover of an animal coronavirus to humans in only two decades that has resulted in a major epidemic. The Coronaviridae Study Group (CSG) of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, which is responsible for developing the classification of viruses and taxon nomenclature of the family Coronaviridae, has assessed the placement of the human pathogen, tentatively named 2019-nCoV, within the Coronaviridae. Based on phylogeny, taxonomy and established practice, the CSG recognizes this virus as forming a sister clade to the prototype human and bat severe acute respiratory syndrome coronaviruses (SARS-CoVs) of the species Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus, and designates it as SARS-CoV-2. In order to facilitate communication, the CSG proposes to use the following naming convention for individual isolates: SARS-CoV-2/host/location/isolate/date. While the full spectrum of clinical manifestations associated with SARS-CoV-2 infections in humans remains to be determined, the independent zoonotic transmission of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 highlights the need for studying viruses at the species level to complement research focused on individual pathogenic viruses of immediate significance. This will improve our understanding of virus–host interactions in an ever-changing environment and enhance our preparedness for future outbreaks.
Work on DEmARC advancement and coronavirus and nidovirus taxonomies was supported by the EU Horizon 2020 EVAg 653316 project and the LUMC MoBiLe program (to A.E.G.), and on coronavirus and nidovirus taxonomies by a Mercator Fellowship by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (to A.E.G.) in the context of the SFB1021 (A01 to J.Z.).
We thank all researchers who released SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences through the GISAID initiative and particularly the authors of the GenBank MN908947 genome sequence: F. Wu, S. Zhao, B. Yu, Y. M. Chen, W. Wang, Z. G. Song, Y. Hu, Z. W. Tao, J. H. Tian, Y. Y. Pei, M. L. Yuan, Y. L. Zhang, F. H. Dai, Y. Liu, Q. M. Wang, J. J. Zheng, L. Xu, E. C. Holmes and Y. Z. Zhang. We thank S. G. Siddell, R. A. M. Fouchier, and J. H. Kuhn for their comments on a manuscript version posted on 11 February 2020 to bioRxiv. A.E.G. and J.Z. thank W. J. M. Spaan, A. J. Davison and E. J. Lefkowitz for support. A.E.G. thanks members of the ICTV ExecutiveCommittee for discussions of classification and nomenclature issues relevant to this paper.
Affiliations: Department of Biomedical Data Sciences, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands (Alexander E. Gorbalenya); Department of Medical Microbiology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands (Alexander E. Gorbalenya, Anastasia A. Gulyaeva, Chris Lauber & Igor A. Sidorov); Faculty of Bioengineering and Bioinformatics and Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia (Alexander E. Gorbalenya, Andrey M. Leontovich, Dmitry Penzar & Dmitry V. Samborskiy); Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Loyola University of Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, IL, USA (Susan C. Baker); Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA (Ralph S. Baric); Division of Virology, Department of Biomolecular Health Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands (Raoul J. de Groot); Institute of Virology, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany (Christian Drosten); Viroscience Lab, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands (Bart L. Haagmans); Texas A&M University-Texarkana, Texarkana, TX, USA (Benjamin W. Neuman); Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA (Stanley Perlman); Centre of Influenza Research & School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China (Leo L. M. Poon); Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, National Center of Biotechnology (CNB-CSIC), Campus de Cantoblanco, Madrid, Spain (Isabel Sola); Institute of Medical Virology, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Giessen, Germany (John Ziebuhr); Consortia Coronaviridae Study Group of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (Alexander E. Gorbalenya, Susan C. Baker, Ralph S. Baric, Raoul J. de Groot, Christian Drosten, Anastasia A. Gulyaeva, Bart L. Haagmans, Chris Lauber, Andrey M. Leontovich, Benjamin W. Neuman, Dmitry Penzar, Stanley Perlman, Leo L. M. Poon, Dmitry V. Samborskiy, Igor A. Sidorov, Isabel Sola & John Ziebuhr)
S.C.B., R.S.B., C.D., R.J.D.G., A.E.G., B.L.H., B.W.N., S.P., L.L.M.P., I.S. and J.Z. are members of the CSG, chaired by J.Z.; R. J.D.G., A.E.G., C.L., B.W.N. and J.Z. are members of the NSG, chaired by A.E.G.; A.E.G. and J.Z. are members of the ICTV. A.E.G., A.A.G., C.L., A.M.L., D.P., D.V.S. and I.A.S. are members of the DEmARC team led by A.E.G. D.V.S. generated the classification of SARS-CoV-2 using a computational pipeline developed by A.A.G. and using software developed by the DEmARC team; the CSG considered and approved this classification, and subsequently debated and decided on the virus name. A.E.G. and J.Z. wrote the manuscript. A.E.G. and D.V.S. generated the figures. All authors reviewed the manuscript and approved its submission for publication.
Correspondence to Alexander E. Gorbalenya or John Ziebuhr.
Competing interests: The authors declare no competing interests.
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Cite this article Gorbalenya, A.E., Baker, S.C., Baric, R.S. et al. The species Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus: classifying 2019-nCoV and naming it SARS-CoV-2. Nat Microbiol (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-020-0695-z
Keywords: Coronavirus; SARS-CoV-2.