Viruses have devised highly effective approaches that modulate the host immune response, blocking immune responses that are designed to eradicate viral infections. Over millions of years of evolution, virus-derived immune-modulating proteins have become extraordinarily potent, in some cases working at picomolar concentrations when expressed into surrounding tissues and effectively blocking host defenses against viral invasion and replication. The marked efficiency of these immune-modulating proteins is postulated to be due to viral engineering of host immune modulators as well as design and development of new strategies (i.e., some derived from host proteins and some entirely unique). Two key characteristics of viral immune modulators confer both adaptive advantages and desirable functions for therapeutic translation. First, many virus-derived immune modulators have evolved structures that are not readily recognized or regulated by mammalian immune pathways, ensuring little to no neutralizing antibody responses or proteasome-mediated degradation. Second, these immune modulators tend to target early steps in central immune responses, producing a powerful downstream inhibitory “domino effect” which may alter cell activation and gene expression.