Vectors based on lentiviruses have reached a state of development such that clinical studies using these agents as gene delivery vehicles have now begun. They have particular advantages for certain in vitro and in vivo applications especially the unique capability of integrating genetic material into the genome of non-dividing cells. Their rapid progress into clinical use reflects in part the huge body of knowledge which has accumulated about HIV in the last 20 years. Despite this, many aspects of viral assembly on which the success of these vectors depends are rather poorly understood. Sufficient is known however to be able to produce a safe and reproducible high titre vector preparation for effective transduction of growth-arrested tissues such as neural tissue, muscle and liver.