• SARS-CoV-2 stands for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus causing the current pandemic.
  • The disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 has officially been named coronavirus disease or COVID-19. 

In the resources that you will find on the COVID-19 Hygiene Hub, we use SARS-CoV-2 when referring to the virus and COVID-19 when referring to the disease. (Source)

Disease names and classification are managed by the World Health Organization (WHO) International Classification of Diseases and follows best practice guidelines for the naming of new infectious diseases in humans. In brief, disease names are intended to quickly provide information on symptoms, causal pathogens, and other information relevant to their control and prevention.

Expert virologists are responsible for naming new viruses and the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses is responsible for determining the species. A consensus statement on the naming and taxonomy of the virus responsible for COVID-19 was recently published.

Editors note

Author: Robert Dreibelbis
Review: Oliver Cumming, Sian White
Last update: 08.04.2020

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