Neutralizing antibodies (Abs) are the principal protective mechanism against disease caused by reinfection with viruses. Ab-mediated neutralization of viruses is a complex process comprising multiple mechanisms. Every structural aspect of Abs is potentially capable of modulating the level of neutralizing activity or the mechanisms of neutralization. The focus of our laboratory is to understand the genetic and structural basis of Ab-mediated neutralization of human viral pathogens. We demonstrated the unexpected finding that virus antigen-binding fragments of Abs (Fabs) mediate potent virus neutralizing effects in vivo. This work has led to a broad investigation of the importance of the genetics, chemistry, and structure of the combining site to the neutralizing activity of antiviral Abs. Ongoing work in our laboratory reveals that effect or functions specified by the Ab isotype such as polymer formation, interactions with complement, interactions with Fc receptors, and the ability to transcytose mucosal epithelia, also modulate the mechanism and level of neutralizing effects mediated by antiviral Abs.