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Monolaurin and Measles

Last Updated: May 9, 2019 | First Published: May 8, 2019
Reviewed by: Dr. Razak Nohri, Pharm.D, M.Phil, MBA

2019 has seen the greatest number of measles cases reported in the United states since it was declared eradicated in 2000.

2019 has seen the greatest number of measles cases reported in the United states since it was declared eradicated in 2000.

Can Monolaurin inactivate an encapsulated virus like measles?


Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by the measles virus (also known as Rubeola or Morbilli). 2019 has seen the greatest number of measles cases reported since 1994 with 764 people in 23 states having a confirmed case of measles (Ref #1). This outbreak has led New York City and Washington DC to declare a public health emergencies due to the rapid spread of this disease.

Measles Transmission

Measles is one of the world’s most contagious diseases (Ref #6). If not immunized, a person exposed to someone with measles has a 95% chance of becoming infected, and each infected person spreads the disease to an average of 12 to 18 other people (Ref #5). Measles is spread through two ways: though the air via coughs and sneezes, and through contact with body fluids like nasal secretions and saliva (Ref #6).

Measles Signs and Symptoms

Measles symptoms usually appear one to two weeks after infection. Symptoms may include a fever, cough, runny nose, and watery eyes. Two or three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots (Koplik spots) may appear inside the mouth (Ref #2), and three to five days after initial symptoms a rash breaks out.

Measles Complications

Measles can cause ear infections and diarrhea (Ref #7), but can also lead to more serious complications like pneumonia, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), or blindness (Ref 7, Ref 6). In very rare cases Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis (SSPE) can develop 7-10 years after a measles infection and can fatally effect the central nervous system (Ref #7).

Measles Prevention

Measles can be easily prevented through proper vaccination protocols. In 2000 the United States declared measles eradicated thanks to these vaccination efforts, but has seen an increase in measles cases due to anti-vaccination sentiments according to the World Health Organization (Ref #3). The recommended measles vaccination protocol is to receive two doses, at least one month apart. One dose of the vaccination is 93% effective in preventing measles, while two doses is 97% effective. (Ref #4)

Measles Treatment

According to the British National Health Service (NHS), there is no specific treatment for measles and the infection should show improvement in 7 to 10 days. (Ref #8) Instead, the NHS focuses on treating symptoms to help ease discomfort.

The World Health Organization goes a step further and recommends taking two doses of Vitamin A given 24 hours apart. Administering Vitamin A can help prevent eye damage and blindness. Vitamin A supplements have been shown to reduce the number of deaths from measles by 50%. (Ref #6)

Monolaurin Research and Measles

Measles morbillivirus (the technical term for the measles virus) is an enveloped virus (Ref #11) with two enveloped glycoproteins on the viral surface — hemagglutinin (H) and membrane fusion protein (F). These proteins are responsible for host cell binding and invasion. Published research suggests Monolaurin may support immune response and inactivate many enveloped viruses.

Laboratory research on Monolaurin suggests:

“Antiviral fatty acids were found to affect the viral envelope, causing leakage and at higher concentrations, a complete disintegration of the envelope and the viral particles. They also caused disintegration of the plasma membranes of tissue culture cells resulting in cell lysis and death.” (Ref #13)

“Lipids commonly found in natural products could possibly be used as antiviral agents against enveloped viruses” (Ref #14)

Further published research is more explicit about Monolaurin and measles, claiming:

 “Anti-microbial effects of coconut oil … Some of the viruses inactivated by these lipids, in addition to HIV, are the measles-virus, herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1), vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), visna virus, and cytomegalo-virus (CMV).” (Ref #9)

Another article on monolaurin and lauric acid research cites:

“Monolaurin was found to be active against enveloped DNA and RNA viruses such as the influenza virus, paramyxoviruses, rubeola virus (measles), bronchitis virus, and the herpes family.” (Ref #10)

An academic review of coconut (Cocos nucifera) suggests that monolaurin has history in traditional applications, stating:

“Traditional Health Benefits of Coconut includes treatment of measles” (Ref #12)

These are selected quotes taken directly from published studies on Monolaurin and are not the opinion of this site. The application of monolaurin for measles is not well studied and is not proven.


There is no established clinical treatment for measles and the best way to prevent measles is through proper vaccination. Monolaurin has promising 3rd party published research on its potential immune supporting properties, but the available research is far from conclusive and should not be viewed as a treatment for a serious disease like measles. If you have any questions regarding the health of yourself or a loved one, it is best to seek the advice of a medical professional



  1. "Measles | Cases and Outbreaks | CDC" 6 May 2019. Retrieved 7 May 2019.

  2. Centers for Disease Control 5 February 2018. Retrieved 7 May 2019.

  3. Mundasad, Smitha (29 November 2018). "Global measles resurging, WHO warns". Retrieved 18 April2019.

  4. "Measles investigation"Clark County Washington. 14 January 2019. Retrieved 18 April 2019.

  5. "Measles Disease | Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH)" Retrieved 2 May 2019.

  6. World Health Organization "Measles Fact sheet N°286" November 2018. 

  7. Centers for Disease Control

  8. NHS Measles Treatment August 2018

  9. Niknamian S, “Dodecanoic-Acid in Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, May Reduce the Incidence of Heart Disease and Cancer in Humans” International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR) ISSN (Online): 2319-7064 Index Copernicus Value (2013): 6.14 | Impact Factor (2015): 6.391

  10. Lieberman S, Enig M.G, Preuss H.G.A Review of Monolaurin and Lauric Acid - Natural Virucidal and Bactericidal Agents. Alternative & Complementary Therapies - December 2006 (310- 314)

  11. William J. Moss, W. Harry Feinstone, in Vaccines for Biodefense and Emerging and Neglected Diseases, 2009

  12. Aggarwal B, Lamba HS, Sharma P, Various Pharmacological Aspects of Cocos nucifera - A Review. American Journal of Pharmacological Sciences, 2017, Vol. 5, No. 2, 25-30

  13. H Thormar, C E Isaacs, H R Brown, M R Barshatzky, T Pessolano. “Inactivation of enveloped viruses and killing of cells by fatty acids and monoglycerides.” Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy Jan 1987, 31 (1) 27-31; DOI: 10.1128/AAC.31.1.27

  14. Thormar H, Isaacs CE, Kim KS, Brown HR. Inactivation of visna virus and other enveloped viruses by free fatty acids and monoglycerides. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1994 Jun 6;724:465-71. PubMed PMID: 8030974.

Monolaurin and Fighting Enveloped RNA and DNA Viruses

Last Updated: January 8, 2019 | First Published: August 28, 2018
Reviewed by: Dr. Ahmed Zayed, M.D.

Monolaurin has been shown in laboratory studies to be significantly potent against 14 types of enveloped viruses

Monolaurin has been shown in laboratory studies to be significantly potent against 14 types of enveloped viruses

What is an Enveloped Virus?

There are two types of viruses – enveloped and non-enveloped. Enveloped viruses are surrounded by a lipid membrane from the host cell in which the virus resides. Examples of these viruses are influenza, HIV/AIDS, and Herpesvirus. The lipid membrane of an enveloped virus originated from the budding of it within the host cell. Unlike non-enveloped viruses, enveloped viruses have lipid membranes that would help their stability, resistance to chemical or physical inactivation, and ease of viral transmission. (Ref #1)

Monolaurin Compounds

Monolaurin has been shown to display antibacterial and antifungal properties. The naturally occurring fatty ester and monoglyceride makes Monolaurin for what it is. Due to its properties, Monolaurin has shown effects of being virucidal against lipid-containing bacteria or viruses, a trait of enveloped viruses. Studies have shown that Monolaurin had little side effects against humans. (Ref #2)

Monolaurin is shown to be significantly potent against 14 types of enveloped viruses. During an in vitro experiment, 99 out of 100 viruses were reduced. The potency of Monolaurin, however, is best shown if it is mixed with other compounds such as tert‐butylhydroxyanisole (BHA), Methylparaben, or sorbic acid. It is so potent that effects begin to show within the first hour. (Ref #2)

Monoglycerides in Human Milk and Enveloped Viruses

Monolaurin is just one example of a monoglyceride. Other studies have shown significant effects of monoglycerides against enveloped viruses. Fatty acids in milk have also displayed the same antiviral properties of Monoglycerides. The lipids in human milk are potent enough to eradicate enveloped viruses such as herpes, vesicular stomatitis virus and simplex virus. (Ref #3)

Fatty Alcohols against Enveloped Viruses

Certain studies have already shown the anti-microbicidal properties of fatty alcohols. There are limitations, however, to the potency of fatty alcohols. It is shown to be most potent only at certain pH levels and certain concentrations. At low pH levels, have no increased activity. Enveloped viruses are more sensitive and capable of changing their ions in their envelope proteins. (Ref #4)

Why Monolaurin?

Monolaurin already proven itself to show little side effects against humans. It has little limitations when compared to fatty alcohols, which are only potent at certain conditions. It is easily available as compared to human breast milk.. Monolaurin even has greater potency at eradicating viruses and bacteria with a probability of 99%. Its potency can even go further if combined with other chemicals and compounds.

If given a chance, Monolaurin might be a potential treatment against various deadly enveloped viruses such as influenza, herpes, and even HIV.



  1. Lucas, W. Viral Capsids and Envelopes: Structure and Function. 19 April 2010. In eLS, (Ed.). doi:10.1002/9780470015902.a0001091.pub2

  2. Hierholzer, J. C. and kabara, j. J. (1982), In vitro effects of monolaurin compounds on enveloped RNA and DNA viruses. Journal of Food Safety, 4: 1-12. Doi:10.1111/j.1745-4565.1982.tb00429.x

  3. H Thormar, C E Isaacs, H R Brown, M R Barshatzky and T Pessolano. Inactivation of enveloped viruses and killing of cells by fatty acids and monoglycerides. Antimicrob. Agents Chemotherapy. January 1987 vol. 31 no. 1 27-31. doi: 10.1128/AAC.31.1.27

  4. H. HilmarssonB. S. TraustasonT. KristmundsdóttirH. Thormar. 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. Archives of Virology. December 2007, Volume 152, Issue 12, pp 2225–2236

  5. Pietila, M., Laurinavicius, S., Sund, J., Roine, E., & Bamford, D. (2009). The Single-Stranded DNA Genome of Novel Archaeal Virus Halorubrum Pleomorphic Virus 1 Is Enclosed in the Envelope Decorated with Glycoprotein Spikes Journal of Virology, 84 (2), 788-798 DOI: 10.1128/JVI.01347-09

Potential Antiviral Properties of Monolaurin

Last Updated: January 8, 2019 | First Published: August 3, 2018
Reviewed by: Dr. Ahmed Zayed, M.D.

Can Monolaurin Act As An Effective Treatment Option For Viral Infections?

Viruses are increasingly difficult to treat with pharmaceuticals. Could Monolaurin be a natural antiviral alternative?

Viruses are increasingly difficult to treat with pharmaceuticals. Could Monolaurin be a natural antiviral alternative?

A large number of viruses, which are essentially tiny germs or microorganisms that invade cells within the body, have been identified through research. When they invade these cells, the use the cells to multiply in the body, creating more viruses. Ultimately, this causes a person to become sick.

Common viral infections (Ref #1) include the common cold, as well as flu. Warts are also caused by viruses. There are also certain viruses that cause more serious diseases. These include Ebola, smallpox, and HIV.

Viral Infections Present A Challenge, Even To Modern-Day Medicine

Medical science has advanced significantly in modern times. However, challenges are still faced by global healthcare systems when it comes to effectively treating viral infections through a pharmaceutical approach. Antiviral drugs are similar to antibiotics in the elimination of specific pathogenic microorganisms in the human body that is causing a patient to be ill. With antiviral medications, however, separate drugs are made for specific viruses – unlike some antibiotics that offer a broad-spectrum treatment approach.

A publication (Ref #2) in the Journal of Virology & Mycology explains that, even though several drugs have been developed to treat viral infections, many challenges are still being faced. In particular, mutations of viruses found today become resistant to the existing antiviral drugs. This makes them ineffective in treating the infections they were developed to treat. The publication does state that new classes of these drugs are in development to provide a broad-spectrum approach to treating different viruses, but evidence of their effectiveness still needs to be proved.

Is Monolaurin Antiviral? And Can It Be Used To Treat Viral Infections?

Monolaurin is often suggested as an alternative approach to the treatment of bacterial infections. Apart from its antibacterial properties, it is important to realize that this compound, mainly found in coconut oil, also has antiviral properties.

Several studies have proven the effectiveness of using monolaurin, often combined with specific compounds, in treating certain types of viral infections. One study (Ref #3) reports the combination of monolaurin and tert-butylhydroxyanisole has been proven effective against 14 different viruses that are known to cause illness in the human body. Over 99.9% reduced viral infectivity.

A study (Ref #4) published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy shared evidence that monolaurin may be an effective option for treating the herpes simplex virus, the visna virus, as well as the vesicular stomatitis virus. 


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