The costimulatory protein ICOS is inducibly expressed on activated T cells. Previous results have shown that ICOS(-/-) mice are defective in germinal center formation, antibody (Ab) production and class switch as well as Th1 and Th2 cytokine production in response to protein or parasite antigens. However, ICOS-Ig failed to block antiviral Ab responses. To date the immune response to viruses has not been examined in ICOS(-/-) mice. In this report we compared antiviral Ab responses to LCMV, VSV and influenza virus in ICOS(-/-) versus wild-type mice. Our results show that ICOS is important in the Ab response to all three viruses, with greater effects on primary as compared to secondary responses. Although ICOS(-/-) mice are impaired in some immune responses following influenza infection, the effects were less severe than for CD28(-/-) mice. There was no defect in initial influenza-specific CD8 T cell expansion in ICOS(-/-) mice or in cytotoxic effector function. However, ICOS was important in maintaining CD4 cytokine production and CD8 T cell numbers late in the primary response. Upon secondary infection, ICOS(-/-) mice show wild-type levels of influenza-specific CD8 T cells, whereas CD28(-/-) mice show greatly impaired secondary CD8 T cell expansion. Overall, our results show that ICOS plays a clear role in the primary response to viruses at the level of Ab production, germinal center formation and Th cytokine production, but has diminished effects following secondary viral challenge.