Virucidal activities of medium- and long-chain fatty alcohols and lipids against respiratory syncytial virus and parainfluenza virus type 2: comparison at different pH levels

Arch Virol. 2007;152(12):2225-36. doi: 10.1007/s00705-007-1063-5. Epub 2007 Sep 22.


Recent studies have shown that some lipids and fatty alcohols have microbicidal activities against a broad variety of pathogens. In this study, virucidal activities of fatty acids, monoglycerides and fatty alcohols were tested against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and human parainfluenza virus type 2 (HPIV2) at different concentrations, times and pH levels. The most active compounds were mixed with milk products and fruit juices and the mixtures tested for virucidal effects. The aim was to determine which compounds are the most active against these respiratory viruses and could possibly be used in pharmaceutical formulations or as additives to milk products or juice. Several compounds caused a significant inactivation of virus, and there was generally a good agreement between the activities against RSV and parainfluenza virus. By changing the pH from 7 to 4.2, the virucidal activities of some of the compounds were greatly increased, i.e., they inactivated virus in a shorter time and at lower concentrations. The most active compound tested was 1-monoglyceride of capric acid, monocaprin, which also showed activity against influenza A virus and significant virucidal activities after addition to milk products and fruit juices, even at a concentration as low as 0.06-0.12%. The significant virucidal activities of fatty alcohols and lipids on RSV and parainfluenza virus demonstrated in this in vitro study raise the question of the feasibility of using such compounds as ingredients in pharmaceutical dosage forms against respiratory infections caused by these viruses, and possibly other paramyxo- and myxoviruses.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / chemistry
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Beverages
  • Cell Line
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Fatty Acids / chemistry
  • Fatty Acids / pharmacology*
  • Fatty Alcohols / chemistry
  • Fatty Alcohols / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Infant
  • Infant Formula / chemistry
  • Milk / chemistry
  • Milk, Human
  • Monoglycerides / chemistry
  • Monoglycerides / pharmacology*
  • Parainfluenza Virus 2, Human / drug effects*
  • Pyrus
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human / drug effects*
  • Vero Cells


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Alcohols
  • Monoglycerides