Rosin Soap Exhibits Virucidal Activity

Stephen H Bell, Derek J Fairley, Hannele Kettunen, Juhani Vuorenmaa, Juha Orte, Connor G G Bamford, John W McGrath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
237 Downloads (Pure)


Chemical methods of virus inactivation are used routinely to prevent viral transmission in both a personal hygiene capacity but also in at-risk environments like hospitals. Several virucidal products exist, including hand soaps, gels, and surface disinfectants. Resin acids, which can be derived from tall oil, produced from trees, have been shown to exhibit antibacterial activity. However, whether these products or their derivatives have virucidal activity is unknown. Here, we assessed the capacity of rosin soap to inactivate a panel of pathogenic mammalian viruses . We show that rosin soap can inactivate human enveloped viruses: influenza A virus (IAV), respiratory syncytial virus, and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). For IAV, rosin soap could provide a 100,000-fold reduction in infectivity. However, rosin soap failed to affect the nonenveloped encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV). The inhibitory effect of rosin soap against IAV infectivity was dependent on its concentration but not on the incubation time or temperature. In all, we demonstrate a novel chemical inactivation method against enveloped viruses, which could be of use for preventing virus infections in certain settings. Viruses remain a significant cause of human disease and death, most notably illustrated through the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Control of virus infection continues to pose a significant global health challenge to the human population. Viruses can spread through multiple routes, including via environmental and surface contamination, where viruses can remain infectious for days. Methods for inactivating viruses on such surfaces may help mitigate infection. Here, we present evidence identifying a novel virucidal product, rosin soap, which is produced from tall oil from coniferous trees. Rosin soap was able to rapidly and potently inactivate influenza virus and other enveloped viruses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0109121
JournalMicrobiology Spectrum
Early online date22 Dec 2021
Publication statusEarly online date - 22 Dec 2021


  • virucidal
  • antimicrobial
  • virus
  • soap
  • antiviral
  • fomite
  • inactivation


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