Human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a paramyxovirus, is a major cause of acute upper and lower respiratory tract infections in infants, young children, and adults. RFI-641 is a novel anti-RSV agent with potent in vitro and in vivo activity. RFI-641 is active against both RSV type A and B strains. The viral specificity and the large therapeutic window of RFI-641 (> 100-fold) indicate that the antiviral activity of the compound is not due to adverse effects on normal cells. The potent in vitro activity of RFI-641 can be translated to efficacy in vivo: RFI-641 is efficacious when administered prophylactically by the intranasal route in mice, cotton rats, and African green monkeys. RFI-641 is also efficacious when administered therapeutically (24 h postinfection) in the monkey model. Mechanism of action studies indicate that RFI-641 blocks viral F protein-mediated fusion and cell syncytium formation.