Identifying viruses and hosts

Nature of identifiers

Both viruses and hosts can be identified with NCBI identifier in nuccore ( In addition, for bacterial viruses the identifier (HER Number) from the Felix d’Hérelle collection ( can also be added. Users can provide a custom identifier as well (e.g. “MYCODE_631”, “BOB1”, …). All identifiers must be entered between parentheses using a semicolon ; as a separator if needed.

Example of identifiers:

Kind of identifier




Outgoing link(s) ?

NCBI Identifier




Yes, nuccore link and tax link

HER Number




Yes, her link

Custom identifier



DE 123


How to add identifiers ?

Preferably, identifiers should be included in the source file. Adding NCBI identifiers, when available, is strongly encouraged. Users can also add identifiers after uploading their file by using the Edit menus available in the page of the datasource (section Hosts or Virus, in the lower part of the page).

Implementing a specific identifier in Viral Host Range database

Implementing a specific identifier in VHRdb with a direct link to another database is possible, and has been done for the Felix d’Hérelle collection and the Taxonomic ID. A specific ID can be motivated by the size of a collection, or its value to the community. Please contact us if you consider that a specific identifier could benefit the community.

How to specify an identifier in a compatible file ?

Identifiers must be specified in the same cell as to the ID of any virus or host and delimited by parentheses. Entrez api is used to detect automatically if the identifier corresponds to a referenced sequence (i.e, the identifier match in nuccore), and if so also fetch the NCBI TaxID associated. If there is a correspondence the VHRdb will add the prefix NCBI to this identifier and create links to this resource in nuccore and the Taxonomy Browser. If there is no correspondence, the VHRdb will considered the identifier as “custom”, unless it is preceded by a specific prefix. For example, the prefix HER: (e.g. “HER:27”) corresponds to an identifier linked to the Félix d’Hérelle collection of bacterial viruses.

E. coli MG1655 (NC_000913.3)


Ω8 (HER:315)


BEN 1045 (APEC O25)


N4 (NC_008720; HER:119952179)