Current application of CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technique to eradication of HIV/AIDS.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) remains a major health hazard despite significant advances in prevention and treatment of HIV infection. The major reason for the persistence of HIV/AIDS is the inability of existing treatments to clear or eradicate the multiple HIV reservoirs that exist in the human body. To suppress the virus replication and rebound, HIV/AIDS patients must take life-long antiviral medications. The clustered regularly interspaced palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated nuclease 9 (Cas9) system is an emerging gene-editing technique with the potential to eliminate or disrupt HIV-integrated genomes or HIV-infected cells from multiple HIV reservoirs, which could result in the complete cure of HIV/AIDS. Encouraging progress has already been reported for the application of the CRISPR/Cas9 technique to HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, both in vitro in human patient cells and in vivo in animal model experiments. In this review, we will summarize the most recent progress in the application of the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technique to HIV/AIDS therapy and elimination. Future directions and trends of such applications are also discussed.