Alcohol abrogates human norovirus infectivity in a pH-dependent manner

Sci Rep. 2020 Sep 28;10(1):15878. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-72609-z.


Alcohol-based disinfectants are widely used for the sanitization of microorganisms, especially those that cause infectious diseases, including viruses. However, since the germicidal mechanism of alcohol is lipolysis, alcohol-based disinfectants appear to have a minimal effect on non-enveloped viruses, such as noroviruses. Because there is no cultivation method for human norovirus (HuNoV) in vitro, murine norovirus and feline calicivirus have been used as surrogates for HuNoV to analyze the efficacy of disinfectant regents. Therefore, whether these disinfectants and their conditions are effective against HuNoVs remain unknown. In this study, we report that ethanol or isopropanol alone can sufficiently suppress GII.4 genotype HuNoV replication in human iPSC-derived intestinal epithelial cells. Additionally, pH adjustments and salting-out may contribute toward the virucidal effect of alcohol against other HuNoV genotypes and cancel the impediment of organic substance contamination, respectively. Therefore, similar to sodium hypochlorite, alcohol-based disinfectants containing electrolytes can be used for HuNoV inactivation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 2-Propanol / pharmacology*
  • Caliciviridae Infections / virology
  • Disinfectants / pharmacology*
  • Epithelial Cells / virology
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Norovirus / drug effects*
  • Virus Inactivation / drug effects*
  • Virus Replication / drug effects*


  • Disinfectants
  • Ethanol
  • 2-Propanol