Shortly after the discovery of human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6), two distinct variants, HHV-6A and HHV-6B, were identified. In 2012, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) classified HHV-6A and HHV-6B as separate viruses. This review outlines several of the documented epidemiological, biological, and immunological distinctions between HHV-6A and HHV-6B, which support the ICTV classification. The utilization of virus-specific clinical and laboratory assays for distinguishing HHV-6A and HHV-6B is now required for further classification. For clarity in biological and clinical distinctions between HHV-6A and HHV-6B, scientists and physicians are herein urged, where possible, to differentiate carefully between HHV-6A and HHV-6B in all future publications.
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