Crispr-cas replacing antiviral drugs against hiv: An update

Rabia Hashmat, Muhammad Zubair Yousaf, Ziaur Rahman, Khalid Mahmood Anjum, Atif Yaqoob, Muhammad Imran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Various antiretroviral drugs do not kill or cure the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) but do prevent the replication of the virus. The combination of antiretroviral drugs is known as highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Current drug therapies effectively suppress HIV-1 replication but do not inactivate the provirus that persists in latent reservoirs. Guide RNA (gRNA)-directed CRISPR/Cas9 system can be used for sequence-specific attacks on this proviral DNA. The biggest achievement might be the complete elimination of HIV from infected cells. A study revealed that the tail injection, in transgenic mice and rats having HIV-1 genome, of an adenoassociated virus (AAV) vector expressing a short version of the Cas9 endonuclease (saCas9) and the gRNAs resulted in the cleavage of integrated HIV-1 DNA and excision of a DNA fragment spanning between the LTR and Gag gene in the spleen, liver, heart, kidney, and circulating lymphocytes. HIV-1 has capacity to escape the attack on its genome from most of inhibitors. Thus, to achieve successful antiretroviral treatment, combinations of several antiviral therapies have been applied that are based on two important facts. The first is that multiple drugs lead to synergistic or additive inhibition, and the second is that the combinational therapy increases chances of drug resistance. The success that has been achieved with the help of the genetically engineered tool CRISPR is that dCas9 protein alone can efficiently silence viral gene expression in bacteria with sgRNA. All the reported investigations have indicated that CRISPR/Cas9 can be used as immune machinery into human cells in the form of novel antivirus tools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-83
Number of pages7
JournalCritical Reviews in Eukaryotic Gene Expression
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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