Vaccine discovery stands out as one of the public health interventions that has achieved the greatest impact in worlds health. Vaccination is the most effective means of disease prevention, especially for viral infections. Starting with the use of smallpox vaccine by Jenner in the late 1700s, the technology for vaccine development has seen numerous advances. Currently, vaccines available for human viral illness are based on live attenuated (e.g. measles, mumps, and rubella), inactivated (e.g. hepatitis A) and recombinant (e.g. hepatitis B) viruses. Among these, inactivated vaccines are known for their easy production and safety. The present article reviews the literature and patents related to the mechanisms used for viral inactivation, mainly chemical and physical procedures, including the novel strategies that are currently being explored and that have been recently patent protected.