Nitric oxide (NO) is an important signaling molecule between cells which has been shown to have an inhibitory effect on some virus infections. The purpose of this study was to examine whether NO inhibits the replication cycle of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS CoV) in vitro. We found that an organic NO donor, S-nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine, significantly inhibited the replication cycle of SARS CoV in a concentration-dependent manner. We also show here that NO inhibits viral protein and RNA synthesis. Furthermore, we demonstrate that NO generated by inducible nitric oxide synthase, an enzyme that produces NO, inhibits the SARS CoV replication cycle.