Viruses have evolved numerous strategies to modulate the host response to infection. Poxviruses cause acute infections and need to replicate quickly to promote efficient transmission. Consequently, it is not surprising to learn that poxviruses encode a large number of proteins designed to target various arms of the host inflammatory response. One of the earliest described and most well-studied viral modulatory proteins is crmA/SPI-2. While the biochemical targets and possible modes of action have been well characterized in vitro, the role that crmA/SPI-2 plays during natural infection is less clear. It may have effects in modulating host responses involving apoptosis and inflammation. It is important to further understand the precise mode of action of viral proteins, such as crmA/SPI-2, because this may lead to better therapeutic strategies to combat a range of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.