Via the Australian:
More than 100 AIDS activists, researchers and health workers bound for a major conference in Melbourne were on the Malaysia Airlines flight downed in the Ukraine. It is believed that delegates to the 20th International AIDS Conference, due to begin on Sunday, will be informed today that 108 of their colleagues and family members died on MH17. Stunned researchers, activists and development workers arriving at Melbourne Airport paid tribute to AIDS researcher Joep Lange and the other attendees believed killed aboard MH17. Jonathan Quick, head of a not-for–profit medicine supply company working with the Global Fund and the US government in Africa and Latin America, described Professor Lange as a force for change in HIV/AIDS treatment. .
Via the Guardian:
“There’s a huge feeling of sadness here, people are in floods of tears in the corridors,” Clive Aspin, a veteran HIV researcher who attended the pre-conference plenary session in Sydney, told Guardian Australia. “These people were the best and the brightest, the ones who had dedicated their whole careers to fighting this terrible virus. It’s devastating.” Prof. Richard Boyd, director of the Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories, told Guardian Australia he was “gutted” by the losses. “There were some serious HIV leaders on that plane,” he said. “This will have ramifications globally because whenever you lose a leader in any field, it has an impact. That knowledge is irreplaceable. “We’ve lost global leaders and also some bright young people who were coming through. It’s a gut-wrenching loss. I was involved in the aftermath of 9/11 in New York and it brings back that level of catastrophe. “But the Aids community is very close-knit, like a family. They will unite and this will galvanise people to strive harder to find a breakthrough. Let’s hope that, out of this madness, there will be new hope for the world.”
Via the Associated Press:
Nobel laureate Dr. Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, co-discoverer of the AIDS virus and president of the International AIDS Society, paid tribute to Lange in a speech in the Australian capital, Canberra. “Joep was a wonderful person — a great professional … but more than that, a wonderful human being,” she said. “If it is confirmed, it will be a terrible loss for all of us. I have no words, really, to try to express my sadness. I feel totally devastated.” She later told reporters the conference would continue out of respect for the lives lost: “Because we know that it’s really what they would like us to do.” Lange had been working on HIV since the earliest years of the epidemic, participating in clinical trials and research across the world, Barre-Sinoussi said. He had dedicated his life, she said, to “the benefit of mankind.”
“Lets hope that out of this madness, there will be new hope for the world.” Madness. Madness, indeed.