Coronavirus of the present outbreak is a sister to SARS-CoVs

11 February 2020• PRESSRELEASE

The Coronavirus Study Group (CSG) assessed the novelty of the human pathogen tentatively named 2019-nCoV. They concluded that this virus is a sister to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronaviruses (SARS-CoVs) within the species Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus. The CSG designates it as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

LUMC emeritus professor A.E. Gorbalenya is first author of the paper titled 'Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus – The species and its viruses, a statement of the Coronavirus Study Group'.

Present outbreak

The 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 all viruses of the entire species to complement research focused on individual pathogenic viruses of immediate significance. This research will improve our understanding of virus-host interactions in an ever-changing environment and enhance our preparedness for future outbreaks.

About the CSG

The Coronavirus Study Group (CSG) is part of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, which is the committee of the Virology Division of the International Union of Microbiology Societies (IUMS). Members of the Committee are specialists in the field of virology. The CSG is responsible for developing the official classification of viruses and taxa naming species, subgenera, genera, and subfamilies (taxonomy) of the Coronaviridae family.

Update: different names for virus and disease

On Tuesday, February 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) named the new coronavirus-associated disease COVID-19. This name differs from the name of the virus in this news item which is ‘severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2’ (SARS-CoV-2).

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