Taxonomy lies at the uneasy interface between biology and logic. The processing of information follows somewhat different rules in these two systems and the role of taxonomy is to reconcile them as tidily as possible. To this end, the Virology Division of the International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS) charged the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) with the task of developing, refining, and maintaining a universal virus taxonomy. The goal of this undertaking is to categorize the multitude of known viruses into a single classification scheme that reflects their evolutionary relationships, i.e. their individual phylogenies.


The most recent report of the 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 Academic Press“, is the standard and definitive reference for virus taxonomy. Taxonomy updates are provided on this web site.

Useful Links
ICTV gratefully acknowledges financial support from the American Society for Virology, Microbiology Society, the Virology Division of IUMS, and the Wellcome Trust. ICTV also very gratefully acknowledges the support it receives from all its Executive Committee members, Study Group members and National Representatives who volunteer a huge amount of their time and financial support to ensure that ICTV continues to function for the good of virology.
New supporting articles and entities in 2022: