Most recent HIV breakthrough is 'not widely applicable' to most patients, says expert

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told Hill.TV on Monday that a recent breakthrough that appeared to cure an HIV-positive patient is "not widely applicable" to the majority of people living with the virus that causes AIDS.

"The only issue that people need to understand is that this was a proof of concept," Dr. Anthony Fauci told co-hosts Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on "Rising."

"As a common way of curing HIV, if you don't have any other disease, it's not scalable, and it's really quite risky," he said. "So good for this individual, good proof of concept, but not widely applicable to the millions of people who are HIV-infected."

The most recent breakthrough comes 12 years after the first HIV-positive patient was cured of the disease. Both cases were a result of bone marrow transplants that were initially meant to treat cancer.

"When they took the stem cells from the donor, which were resistant to HIV, put them into the recipient, who had chemotherapy for his bone marrow transplant, or a stem cell transplant, and then what happened is resistant cells replaced the person's susceptible cells," Fauci told Hill.TV. "When they withdrew the antiviral drugs from them, the virus never returned and was essentially gone. So technically this was a cure."

More than 1 million Americans are living with HIV, and there are 40,000 new infections every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

— Julia Manchester