The host cellular environment is a key determinant of pathogen infectivity. Viral gene expression and viral particle production of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD)-deficient and G6PD-knockdown cells were much higher than their counterparts when human coronavirus (HCoV) 229E was applied at 0.1 multiplicity of infection. These phenomena were correlated with increased oxidant production. Accordingly, ectopic expression of G6PD in G6PD-deficient cells or addition of antioxidant (such as alpha-lipoic acid) to G6PD-knockdown cells attenuated the increased susceptibility to HCoV 229E infection. All experimental data indicated that oxidative stress in host cells is an important factor in HCoV 229E infectivity.