Viral particles (VPs) have evolved so as to efficiently enter target cells and to deliver their genetic material. The current state of knowledge allows us to use VPs in the field of biomedicine as nanoparticles that are safe, easy to manipulate, inherently biocompatible, biodegradable, and capable of transporting various cargoes into specific cells. Despite the fact that these virus-based nanoparticles constitute the most common vectors used in clinical practice, the need remains for further improvement in this area. The aim of this review is to discuss the potential for enhancing the efficiency and versatility of VPs via their functionalization with cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs), short peptides that are able to translocate across cellular membranes and to transport various substances with them. The review provides and describes various examples of and means of exploitation of CPPs in order to enhance the delivery of VPs into permissive cells and/or to allow them to enter a broad range of cell types. Moreover, it is possible that CPPs are capable of changing the immunogenic properties of VPs, which could lead to an improvement in their clinical application. The review also discusses strategies aimed at the modification of VPs by CPPs so as to create a useful cargo delivery tool.
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