Novel Coronavirus - March 2020 update

March 2, 2020

In December 2019, an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus was identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

The AMA Manual of Style addresses coronavirus (CoV) in section 14.14.3, Virus Nomenclature, which includes information on Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV). The World Health Organization has named the new disease coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).1 The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) Coronaviridae Study Group determined that the new virus belongs to the existing species severe acute respiratory syndrome–related coronavirus.2,3 Thus, the virus name has been proposed as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) by the ICTV.

Table 14.14-10, Viruses of Humans, in Section 14.14.3 will be updated with the new virus along with a note at the beginning of section 14.14.3 to alert users to this addition.

Visit the JAMA Network Resource Center on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-2019) for reports of research, educational resources, and updates.


1.    World Health Organization. Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Situation Report-22.   Published February 11, 2020. Accessed February 12, 2020.

2.    International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. Naming the 2019 Coronavirus. Accessed February 26, 2020.

3.    del Rio C, Malani PN. COVID-19—new insights on a rapidly changing epidemic. JAMA. Published online February 28, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.3072