Since the beginning of the 20th century, humans have experienced four influenza pandemics, including the devastating 1918 'Spanish influenza'. Moreover, H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses are currently spreading worldwide, although they are not yet efficiently transmitted among humans. While the threat of a global pandemic involving a highly pathogenic influenza virus strain looms large, our mechanisms to address such a catastrophe remain limited. Here, we show that pre-stimulation of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) 2 and 4 increased resistance against influenza viruses known to induce high pathogenicity in animal models. Our data emphasize the complexity of the host response against different influenza viruses, and suggest that TLR agonists might be utilized to protect against lethality associated with highly pathogenic influenza virus infection in humans.