Zinc is an essential trace element that is crucial for development growth, and the maintenance of function. Its influence reaches all organs and cell types, surrounding hundreds of transcription factors and enzymes, and representing an integral component of approximately 10% of the human proteome. Zinc deficiency is common, affecting up to a quarter of the populace in developing countries, but also affecting distinct populations in the developed world as a result of disease-mediated factors, age, and lifestyle. Consequently, zinc status is a vital element that can affect antiviral immunity as zinc-deficient inhabitants are often most vulnerable to acquiring infections like HIV or hepatitis C virus. This review summarizes current basic science and clinical evidence analyzing zinc as a direct antiviral, in addition to a stimulant of antiviral immunity. An abundance of evidence has accumulated over the last 50 y to demonstrate zinc’s action also via mechanics that were numerous. The therapeutic use of zinc for viral diseases like herpes simplex virus and the frequent cold has stemmed from these findings; however, there is much to be learned regarding the antiviral mechanisms and clinical benefit of zinc supplementation as a preventative and curative treatment for viral infections.