The emergence of the pandemic 2009 H1N1 influenza virus has become a world-wide health concern. As drug resistance appears, a new generation of therapeutic strategies will be required. Here, we introduce a nanotechnology approach for the therapy of pan-demic and seasonal influenza virus infections. This approach uses gold nanorods (GNRs) to deliver an innate immune activator, pro-ducing a localized therapeutic response. We demonstrated the utility of a biocompatible gold nanorod, GNR-5'PPP-ssRNA nanoplex, as an antiviral strategy against type A influenza virus. In human respiratory bronchial epithelial cells, this nanoplex activated the retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I) pathogen recognition pathway, resulting in increased expression of IFN-beta and other IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs) (e.g., PKR, MDA5, IRF1, IRF7, and MX1). This increase in type I IFN and ISGs resulted in a decrease in the replication of H1N1 influenza viruses. These findings suggest that further evaluation of biocompatible nanoplexes as unique antivirals for treatment of seasonal and pandemic influenza viruses is warranted.