One of the world’s most influential AIDS and HIV researchers, Joep Lange, is dead after Malaysia Airlines flight 17 was shot down over Ukraine on Thursday morning. He began studying the disease in 1983 when little was known about it, and eventually made giant strides in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission.
Above you can watch an interview with Lange.
Here is what you need to know:
1. He Was Headed to the World AIDS Conference
Lange was on his way to the yearly World AIDS Conference which began this week in Melbourne, Australia when his plane, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was allegedly shot down over Eastern Ukraine.
Reports from the Australia suggest that other people killed on the downed aircraft may have also been in transit to the Melbourne conference. Huffington Post reports that maybe up to 100 of the 298 people aboard MH 17 may have been headed to the conference.
2. He Served as President of the International AIDS Society
Lange is best known for serving as the president of the International AIDS society between 2002 and 2004. Before that he gained world renown while serving as the Chief of Clinical Research and Drug Development at the World Heath Organization’s Global Program on AIDS.
For the last few years Lange has been a professor of medicine and the head of the Department of Global Medicine at the University of Amsterdam, and the executive scientific director at the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development.
3. He Played a ‘Key Role’ in Making HIV Treatment Available
According to his biography at the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development, Lange was a pioneer of US HIV vaccine trails and help establish sustainable and cost-effective ways to provide treatment ot the developing world.
Speaking to MSN, colleagues in Australia lamented the loss of such an important figure. David Cooper, the directer of Australia’s Kirby Centre said, “His contribution to HIV research and treatment, and his determination to ensure access to those treatment for people in Africa and Asia cannot be underestimated.”
4. 298 People Died in the Crash
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) July 18, 2014
The number of casualties presumed dead after the crash was raised for 295 to 298 upon the discovery that three infants were on board who did not have their own seats. OF the 295, 15 were the crew of the Malaysia Airlines flight. The breakdown of passanger nationalities are above.
As of Friday morning, the nationality of 20 passengers has not yet been released.
5. Responsibility for the Crash Is Still Unclear
On Thursday the United States confirmed that a missile had shot down Malaysia Airlines flight 17, although it was unclear whether the missile had come from. The Ukrainian government have put the blame on pro-Russian separatists currently in control of a large portion of eastern Ukraine and claiming to be a newly-autonomous nation called the “People’s Republic of Donetsk.”