Virus taxonomy: the database of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV)

Nucleic Acids Res. 2018 Jan 4;46(D1):D708-D717. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkx932.


The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) is charged with the task of developing, refining, and maintaining a universal virus taxonomy. This task encompasses the classification of virus species and higher-level taxa according to the genetic and biological properties of their members; naming virus taxa; maintaining a database detailing the currently approved taxonomy; and providing the database, supporting proposals, and other virus-related information from an open-access, public web site. The ICTV web site ( provides access to the current taxonomy database in online and downloadable formats, and maintains a complete history of virus taxa back to the first release in 1971. The ICTV has also published the ICTV Report on Virus Taxonomy starting in 1971. This Report provides a comprehensive description of all virus taxa covering virus structure, genome structure, biology and phylogenetics. The ninth ICTV report, published in 2012, is available as an open-access online publication from the ICTV web site. The current, 10th report (, is being published online, and is replacing the previous hard-copy edition with a completely open access, continuously updated publication. No other database or resource exists that provides such a comprehensive, fully annotated compendium of information on virus taxa and taxonomy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual*
  • Forecasting
  • Phylogeny
  • Terminology as Topic
  • Viruses / classification*
  • Viruses / genetics