We recently heard the BBC refer to SARS-CoV-2, a name we had not heard before, so we did a little research.
On 11 February 2020, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV)  announced that the name of the virus was Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2 for short.
On the same day, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told a press conference in Geneva  that the name of the disease caused by this virus was COVID-19, short for CoronaVirus Disease 2019. The WHO announced the same thing on Twitter .
The WHO believes that the name SARS-CoV-2 can cause unintended consequences in terms of creating unnecessary fear for some populations, especially in Asia which was worst affected by the SARS outbreak in 2003 .
For that reason and others, WHO refers to the virus as “the virus responsible for COVID-19” or “the COVID-19 virus” when communicating with the public. However, neither of these designations are intended as replacements for the official name of the virus as agreed by the ICTV.
This website will therefore continue to use the name COVID-19 for the disease and COVID-19 virus for the virus.
See also the World Health Organization Best Practices for the Naming of New Human Infectious Diseases May 2015 .