For B cells to make antibodies against most antigens, they require help from T cells. T cell help is delivered as two signals to the B cell, one of which is via CD40 and the other can be through receptors for any of a variety of soluble cytokines. We have constructed recombinant vaccinia viruses that express the ligand for CD40 and have shown that the growth of these viruses is dramatically controlled in vivo, even in mice that lack T or B cells. In this paper, we also describe our attempts to analyse the CD40 ligand-mediated antiviral activity by studying the clearance of these viruses in mice that are deficient in important antiviral mechanisms. Thus, the antiviral activity of CD40L may represent a surprising and potent effector mechanism of T cells activated during a virus infection.