More than 240 million people around the world are chronically infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV). Nucleos(t)ide analogs and interferon are the only two families of drugs to treat HBV currently. However, none of these anti-virals directly target the stable nuclear covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA), which acts as a transcription template for viral mRNA and pre-genomic RNA synthesis and secures virus persistence. Thus, the fact that only a small number of patients treated achieve sustained viral response (SVR) or cure, highlights the need for new therapies against HBV. The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR
gene editing system can specifically target the conserved regions of the HBV genome. This results in robust viral suppression and provides a promising tool for eradicating the virus. In this review, we discuss the function and application of the CRISPR/Cas9 system as a novel therapy for HBV.
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