SUMMARYAlthough vaccines and monoclonal antibody countermeasures have reduced the morbidity and mortality associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection, variants with constellations of mutations in the spike gene threaten their efficacy. Accordingly, antiviral interventions that are resistant to further virus evolution are needed. The host-derived cytokine IFN-λ has been proposed as a possible treatment based on correlative studies in human COVID-19 patients. Here, we show IFN-λ protects against SARS-CoV-2 B.1.351 (Beta) and B.1.1.529 (Omicron)variants in three strains of conventional and human ACE2 transgenic mice. Prophylaxis or therapy with nasally-delivered IFN-λ2 limited infection of historical or variant (B.1.351 and B.1.1.529) SARS-CoV-2 strains in the upper and lower respiratory tracts without causing excessive inflammation. In the lung, IFN-λ was produced preferentially in epithelial cells and acted on radio-resistant cells to protect against of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Thus, inhaled IFN-λ may have promise as a treatment for evolving SARS-CoV-2 variants that develop resistance to antibody-based countermeasures.