Updates to the Manual

The AMA Manual of Style committee continuously updates policy guidelines; these changes will be posted here as they’re implemented.

2019 Novel Coronavirus

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 virus name has been proposed as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV), but this has not been finalized.

Expert virologists in the ICTV Coronaviridae Study Group are currently studying the classification (taxonomy) of the new virus.2

Table 14.14-10, Viruses of Humans, in Section 14.14.3 will be updated when the final nomenclature is adopted for formal use.

In the interim, please watch this site for updates on nomenclature and 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. https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200211-sitrep-22-ncov.pdf

2.  International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. Naming the 2019 Coronavirus. Accessed February 12, 2020. https://talk.ictvonline.org/

February 2, 2020