Below, we provide examples of how to find a virus species name
Example 1: Yellow fever virus
There are common names of viruses, names of viral diseases, and scientific names of virus groups. ICTV website is about scientific names of virus taxa (virus groups). Let us find the scientific name for some well-known virus. Look at the the top picture here: https://ictv.global/information/virology/fov It is called “Conquerors of Yellow Fever” and shows the key moment in the yellow fever research: inoculation from the mosquito infected with this virus. But what is the current scientific name of this viral taxon?
First, we will search the “yellow fever” using an embedded search box (see the footer of the website). A new page will appear (https://ictv.global/search/google?keys=yellow+fewer#gsc.tab=0&gsc.q=yellow%20fewer&gsc.sort=) and you will see that several links point to the “Flaviviridae” virus family page (https://ictv.global/report/chapter/flaviviridae/flaviviridae .) There we will find the name of the genus. Families consist of genera and genera of species. In the end, we need a species name but let us proceed to genus first.
Quick reading of the Flaviviridae species page (and maybe, another searching, now within the page) reveals that the genus name is “Flavivirus”. Very good! Now we can go to the species name. The best way is to start “Taxonomic Browser” which contains most recent information about virus names (and also the history of changes, if any).
Open Taxonomic Browser (https://ictv.global/taxonomy ) and in the search box, enter “Flavivirus”. Searching here takes time because the database is really big. Then you will see the table with the name “Flavirirus” (and a full row of taxonomic hierarchy for this genus) and “View” button on the left. Click on “View”. A yellow box will appear. Click on “+” on the left, and you will see a list of species. This is what we need!
Now it is easy to find the “species: Yellow fever virus” row. This is the scientific name of the virus. If you want more, click on “Click for details” on the yellow box with the species name. You will be taken to the page which contains all information about the name (https://ictv.global/taxonomy/taxondetails?taxnode_id=202103121 ).
Example 2: Monkeypox virus
You might already hear about monkeypox; it is one of the well-known viral diseases. But "monkeypox" is the name of the disease, not the name of a virus, and not the name of virus species. Names of diseases are assigned by World Health Organisation whereas names of viral species are assigned by the International Committee of the Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV).
Let us find the species name for the agent of monkeypox disease. This is simple. First, go to the ICTV website and search for "monkeypox" in the search box at the bottom. Skip some ads, and you will see the "Poxviridae" link. This is the virus family page. Families include genera, and genera include species. We will go to the Poxviridae family page to find the name of the genus. I would recommend reading the whole page (it is really interesting!) but if you like to find the name faster, search for "monkeypox" within a page.
There is a table "List of species in the genus Orthopoxvirus". Orthopoxvirus is, by the way, the genus to which monkeypox virus species belongs. Go down and you will see "Monkeypox virus". Congratulations, you found the name of the virus species! To double check, it is good also to go to the taxonomy page and search for "monkeypox" there. Wait, and then click on "view". "Monkeypox virus" will be highlighted with yellow. If you like, click on letter "i" and you will see the history of this name.
Example 3: Polio
"Polio", or "acute poliomyelitis" is an infamous disease, many countries and millions of people suffered in the past from it. "Polio" is a viral disease, it is caused by a virus that belongs to some species. But how to call this species scientifically? Names of viral species are governed by International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses ICTV). Let us find the scientific name of the poliovirus species. First, go to the ICTV website. Then search for "polio" in the search box at the bottom of the front page. I think that it is better to make a scientific search so we will find the name of the virus family and genus first, and then we will find the name of the species.
After the search, one of the first links will be "Genus: Enterovirus". This is the genus to which poliovirus species belongs (and its family is Picornaviridae). Now, go to this page and search for "polio". There is a table called "Member Species", and there you can find that poliovirus is actually "Enterovirus C". This is the name of the polio virus species!
The other way is to use the taxonomy browser. But if we come there, it will be ... no results for "polio"! Well, we may find "polio" in older taxonomies. Fortunately, ICTV keeps older taxonomies available. Click on "1971", the oldest dataset, and search for polio there. You will find it! Click on "View" and then to "i" letter. You will see the new page which explains that at first, it was called "Poliovirus type 1", then "Human poliovirus" but the most current name is "Enterovirus C". It is wonderful that ICTV keeps all names, past and current, and also allows connecting them together!