Antiviral activities of whey proteins

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2015 Sep;99(17):6997-7008. doi: 10.1007/s00253-015-6818-4. Epub 2015 Jul 22.


Milk contains an array of proteins with useful bioactivities. Many milk proteins encompassing native or chemically modified casein, lactoferrin, alpha-lactalbumin, and beta-lactoglobulin demonstrated antiviral activities. Casein and alpha-lactalbumin gained anti-HIV activity after modification with 3-hydroxyphthalic anhydride. Many milk proteins inhibited HIV reverse transcriptase. Bovine glycolactin, angiogenin-1, lactogenin, casein, alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin, bovine lactoferrampin, and human lactoferrampin inhibited HIV-1 protease and integrase. Several mammalian lactoferrins prevented hepatitis C infection. Lactoferrin, methylated alpha-lactalbumin and methylated beta-lactoglobulin inhibited human cytomegalovirus. Chemically modified alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin and lysozyme, lactoferrin and lactoferricin, methylated alpha-lactalbumin, methylated and ethylated beta-lactoglobulins inhibited HSV. Chemically modified bovine beta-lactoglobulin had antihuman papillomavirus activity. Beta-lactoglobulin, lactoferrin, esterified beta-lactoglobulin, and esterified lactoferrindisplayed anti-avian influenza A (H5N1) activity. Lactoferrin inhibited respiratory syncytial virus, hepatitis B virus, adenovirus, poliovirus, hantavirus, sindbis virus, semliki forest virus, echovirus, and enterovirus. Milk mucin, apolactoferrin, Fe(3+)-lactoferrin, beta-lactoglobulin, human lactadherin, bovine IgG, and bovine kappa-casein demonstrated antihuman rotavirus activity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Mammals
  • Virus Replication / drug effects
  • Viruses / drug effects*
  • Whey Proteins / pharmacology*


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Whey Proteins