The Executive Committee of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) has recently decided to modify the current definition of virus species (Code of Virus Classification and Nomenclature Rule 3. 21) and will soon ask the full ICTV membership (189 voting members) to ratify the proposed controversial change. In this discussion paper, 14 senior virologists, including six Life members of the ICTV, compare the present and proposed new definition and recommend that the existing definition of virus species should be retained. Since the pros and cons of the proposal posted on the ICTV website are not widely consulted, the arguments are summarized here in order to reach a wider audience.
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