MH17 Malaysia Airlines crash: Tributes paid to world-renowned AIDS researcher on board stricken plane

Professor Lange, 59, was a clinical researcher from the Netherlands specialising in HIV therapies

Science Editor

Friends and colleagues of Professor Joep Lange, a world-renowned Aids researcher who was on board the stricken Malaysian flight, paid tribute yesterday to his “tireless” efforts towards defeating HIV/Aids.

Professor Lange and his wife Jacqueline van Tongeren were among about 100 passengers on flight MH17 who are believed to have been on their way to the 20th International Aids Conference in Melbourne, Australia.

Professor Lange, 59, was a clinical researcher from the Netherlands specialising in HIV therapies and was a past president of the International Aids Society, which organised the Melbourne conference, and had a distinguished track record in pioneering HIV treatments.

Professor David Cooper of the University of New South Wales, a close colleague and friend of Professor Lange, issued a statement that confirmed that the Dutch scientist and his wife were on board the Malaysian aircraft.

“Joep had an absolute commitment to HIV treatment and care in Asia and Africa. The joy in collaborating with Joep was that he would always bring a fresh view, a unique take on things, and he never accepted that something was impossible to achieve,” Proefessor Cooper said.

Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, who shared a Nobel Prize for discovering HIV, said: “Joep was a great professional but more than that, he was a wonderful human being. It will be a terrible loss for us…I feel totally devastated."

Jeremy Farrar, the director of the Wellcome Trust research charity led the tributes from the UK: “Joep was a great clinical scientist, and a great friend of the Wellcome Trust who has long been a valued adviser. He was also a personal friend.

“He is a great loss to global health research. The thoughts and sympathies of all of us at the Trust are with his family and other families who have lost loved ones in this tragedy,” Dr Farrar said.

Peter Piot, a veteran Aids researcher and director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said he was devastatd by the loss of his colleague on flight MH 17.

“My good friend Prof Joep Lange was one of the most creative AIDS researchers, a humanist, and tireless organiser, dedicated to his patients and to defeating AIDS in the poorest countries,” Dr Piot said.

“Global health and the AIDS response have lost one of their great leaders. Joep and his partner Jacqueline will be dearly missed. My deepest condolences are with the families and friends of all those lost in this tragedy,” he added.

Andrew Phillips, professor of HIV epidemiology at UCL, said: “Joep was a highly influential HIV researcher who made a huge contribution over the past three decades and those of us working in the field who knew him personally are feeling an enormous sense of loss of a much valued colleague.”

Other conference delegates who were on the flight included Ms van Tongeren, a board member of the action group ArtAids, and Glen Thomas, 49, a former BBC journalist who moved from Blackpool to Geneva to work for the WHO as a press officer.

Other passengers  included Aids lobbyist Pim de Kuijer and researchers Martine de Schutter and Lucie van Mens, it was reported.

The International Aids Society said in a statement yesterday that it is continuing to work with the authorities to clarify who was on the flight en route to the conference.“In recognition of our colleagues' dedication to the fight against HIV/AIDS, the conference will go ahead as planned and will include opportunities to reflect and remember those we have lost,” the statement said.

It is the second time the international body of Aids scientists has lost a senior colleague in an airline disaster. Jonathan Mann, a former head of the WHO’s global Aids programme, died in a Swiss-air crash in 1998.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, poses at the premiere of
people
News
people
News
The frequency with which we lie and our ability to get away with it both increase to young adulthood then decline with age, possibly because of changes that occur in the brain
scienceRoger Dobson knows the true story, from Pinocchio to Pollard
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Life and Style
health
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen