Generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and failure to maintain an appropriate redox balance contribute to viral pathogenesis. Nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is an important transcription factor that plays a pivotal role in maintaining intracellular homoeostasis and coping with invasive pathogens by coordinately activating a series of cytoprotective genes. Previous studies indicated that the transcription and expression levels of Nrf2 were up-regulated in SVCV-infected EPC cells with the unknown mechanism(s). In this study, the interactions between the Nrf2-ARE signalling pathway and SVCV replication were investigated, which demonstrated that SVCV infection induced accumulation of ROS as well as protein carbonyl groups and 8-OHdG, accompanied by the up-regulation of Nrf2 and its downstream genes. At the same time, the activation of Nrf2 with D, l-sulforaphane (SFN) and CDDO-Me could repress the replication of SVCV, and knockdown of Nrf2 by siRNA could promote the replication of SVCV. Taken together, these observations indicate that the Nrf2-ARE signal pathway activates a passive defensive response upon SVCV infection. The conclusions presented here suggest that targeting the Nrf2 pathway has potential for combating SVCV infection.