The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented increases in sickness, death, economic disruption, and social disturbances globally. However, the virus (SARS-CoV-2) that caused this pandemic is only one of many viruses threatening public health. Consequently, it is important to have effective means of preventing viral transmission and reducing its devastating effects on human and animal health. Although many antivirals are already available, their efficacy is often limited because of factors such as poor solubility, low permeability, poor bioavailability, un-targeted release, adverse side effects, and antiviral resistance. Many of these problems can be overcome using advanced antiviral delivery systems constructed using nanotechnology principles. These delivery systems consist of antivirals loaded into nanoparticles, which may be fabricated from either synthetic or natural materials. Nevertheless, there is increasing emphasis on the development of antiviral delivery systems from natural substances, such as lipids, phospholipids, surfactants, proteins, and polysaccharides, due to health and environmental issues. The composition, morphology, dimensions, and interfacial characteristics of nanoparticles can be manipulated to improve the handling, stability, and potency of antivirals. This article outlines the major classes of antivirals, summarizes the challenges currently limiting their efficacy, and highlights how nanoparticles can be used to overcome these challenges. Recent studies on the application of antiviral nanoparticle-based delivery systems are reviewed and future directions are described. Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.