The anti-viral and surface virucidal activity of tea tree oil

Curtin University

  • Project code: PRO-015286

  • Project stage: Current

  • Project start date: Thursday, March 17, 2022

  • Project completion date: Wednesday, March 29, 2023

  • National Priority: TTO-Increasing demand


This project will analyse the anti-viral effects of Tea Tree oil against a range of human and animal viruses in vitro and determine its efficacy as a virucidal agent against viruses in contact with common surface materials. Anti-viral and Virucidal assays will be performed according to TGA guidelines, specifically in terms of suspension test assays, methodology described in ASTM E1053 and EN1446 will be used. Tests will be designed to include ‘Clean’ and ‘Dirty’ conditions containing 0.3g/L bovine serum albumin (BSA) and 30g/L BSA plus 3 ml/L erythrocytes, respectively. Sufficient virus concentrations will be used to measure a 4-log reduction using the standard TCID50 assay.

The in vitro anti-viral testing will use the recommended enveloped and non-enveloped viruses, namely Herpes simplex virus and poliovirus. The study will also focus on the effects of tea tree oil against human coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-2 which will be tested in the Biosafety level 3 facility at Queensland University of Technology and the surrogate human coronavirus HCoV-NL63. Additional viruses will include Bovine herpes virus, canine coronavirus and murine influenza virus.

The project will also test the cytotoxicity of Tea tree oil in skin and respiratory cell lines and its performance as a surface virucidal agent against selected viruses in contact with common high touch materials e.g., plastic, steel, wood, paper. The outcomes of the project will be a comprehensive analysis of Tea tree oil antiviral activity resulting in a high impact publication which will serve as an independent reference for tea tree oil anti-viral activity.


Tea Tree Oil

Research Organisation

Curtin University