The very deep knowledge acquired on the genetics and molecular biology of herpes simplex virus (HSV), major human pathogen whose lifestyle is based on a long-term dual interaction with the infected host characterized by the existence of lytic and latent infections, has allowed the development of potential vectors for several applications in human healthcare. These include delivery and expression of human genes to cells of the nervous system, selective destruction of cancer cells, prophylaxis against infection with HSV or other infectious diseases and targeted infection of specific tissues or organs. Three different classes of vectors can be derived from HSV-1: replication-competent attenuated vectors, replication-incompetent recombinant vectors and defective helper-dependent vectors known as amplicons. This chapter highlights the current knowledge concerning design, construction and recent applications, as well as the potential and current limitations of the three different classes of HSV-1-based vectors.
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