Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatising. It also gives us a standard format to use for any future virus outbreaks

Viruses, and the diseases they cause, often have different names. For example, HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. People often know the name of a disease, but not the name of the virus that causes it.

Names of viruses (the physical things you work within the lab or that make you sick) are written differently than the names of species and other taxa (logical constructs that help us categorize viruses).

Viruses are named based on their genetic structure to facilitate the development of diagnostic tests, vaccines and medicines. Virologists and the wider scientific community do this work, so viruses are named by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV).

Diseases are named to enable discussion on disease prevention, spread, transmissibility, severity and treatment.

A virus name should never be italicized, even when it includes the name of a host species or genus, and should be written in lower case. This ensures that it is distinguishable from a species name, which otherwise might be identical.

The first letters of words in a virus name, including the first word, should only begin with capital when these words are proper nouns (including host genus names but not virus genus names) or start a sentence.