Application of CRISPR-Cas9 editing for virus engineering and the development of recombinant viral vaccines

CRISPR-Cas technology, discovered originally as a bacterial defense system, has been extensively repurposed as a powerful tool for genome editing for multiple applications in biology. In the field of virology, CRISPR-Cas9 technology has been widely applied on genetic recombination and engineering of genomes of various viruses to ask some fundamental questions about virus-host interactions. Its high efficiency, specificity, versatility, and low cost have also provided great inspiration and hope in the field of vaccinology to solve a series of bottleneck problems in the development of recombinant viral vaccines. This review highlights the applications of CRISPR editing in the technological advances compared to the traditional approaches used for the construction of recombinant viral vaccines and vectors, the main factors affecting their application, and the challenges that need to be overcome for further streamlining their effective usage in the prevention and control of diseases. Factors affecting efficiency, target specificity, and fidelity of CRISPR-Cas editing in the context of viral genome editing and development of recombinant vaccines are also discussed.

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