2020年2月11日WHO正式命名新冠肺炎(COVID-19)；同一天，the Coronavirus Study Group of the International Committee on Virus Taxonomy命名此病毒為SARS-CoV-2。然而，此病毒與引起SARS之冠狀病毒在基因序列及特性上有許多不同。為避免混淆，一群中國病毒學家建議更改病毒名稱為human coronavirus 2019 (HCoV-19)。
An outbreak of unusual respiratory disease, initially dominated by pneumonia, in Wuhan, China, is caused by infection by a novel coronavirus. The new virus was initially named 2019-nCoV by WHO. 123 ,
On Feb 11, 2020, WHO renamed the disease as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).4
That same day, the Coronavirus Study Group (CSG) of the International Committee on Virus Taxonomy posted a manuscript on bioRxiv in which they suggested designating 2019-nCoV as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) on the basis of a phylogenetic analysis of related coronaviruses.5
The CSG claimed that they did not intend to make any reference to SARS when introducing yet another virus name derived from the term SARS; however, SARS is a disease name, and to name new virus SARS-CoV-2 actually implies that it causes SARS or similar, especially to scientists without much knowledge of virology and to citizens in the public domain. The new name is also not consistent with the disease name COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2, as a naturally occurring virus, is different from all other SARS-like or SARS-related coronaviruses, which are characterised mainly by their genome sequence.