Five 3'-fluorinated ribonucleosides were prepared and evaluated for their inhibitory properties against different viruses. The synthesis of these compounds was achieved by treatment of 2',5'-di-O-tritylated nucleoside analogues possessing a xylo-configuration with diethylaminosulfur trifluoride, followed by deprotection. 3'-Fluoro-3'-deoxyadenosine was active against a broad range of viruses, encompassing both DNA viruses [pox (vaccinia)], single-stranded (+) RNA viruses [picorna (polio, Coxsackie B), toga (sindbis, Semliki Forest)] and double-stranded RNA viruses (reo). In its antiviral activity spectrum 3'-fluoro-3'-deoxyadenosine clearly differed from those adenosine analogues that are known as inhibitors of S-adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase. 3'-Fluoro-3'-deoxyadenosine also proved effective in vivo, in inhibiting tail lesion formation in mice inoculated intravenously with vaccinia virus.