Despite numerous viral outbreaks in the last decade, including a devastating global pandemic, diagnostic and therapeutic technologies remain severely lacking. CRISPR-Cas systems have the potential to address these critical needs in the response against infectious disease. Initially discovered as the bacterial adaptive immune system, these systems provide a unique opportunity to create programmable, sequence-specific technologies for detection of viral nucleic acids and inhibition of viral replication. This review summarizes how CRISPR-Cas systems-in particular the recently discovered DNA-targeting Cas12 and RNA-targeting Cas13, both possessing a unique trans-cleavage activity-are being harnessed for viral diagnostics and therapies. We further highlight the numerous technologies whose development has accelerated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.