- The Washington Times - Friday, July 18, 2014

Investigators say that 100 or so AIDS researchers traveling to the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne may be among the dead in the aircraft that was shot down over Ukraine.

“There’s been confirmed a number of senior people who were coming out here who were researchers, who were medical scientists, doctors, people who’ve been to the forefront of dealing with AIDS across the world,” said Victoria Premier Denis Napthine during a Friday press conference in Melbourne, Australia, USA Today reported. “The exact number is not yet known. But there is no doubt it’s a substantial number.”

The Australian newspaper said the number of killed AIDS researchers could be as high as 108. In all, 298 passengers aboard flight MH17 were killed.

The International AIDS Society sent out a brief statement: “At this incredibly sad and sensitive time the IAS stands with our international family and sends condolences to the loved ones of those who have been lost to this tragedy,” USA Today reported.

Initial but unconfirmed reports say that Joep Lange, from the University of Amsterdam, and Glenn Thomas, with the World Health Organization, were among the killed. Mr. Lange led crucial clinical trials for various antiretroviral therapies and was president of the International AIDS Society from 2002 to 2004.

Chris Beyrer, the soon-to-be president of the IAS, said if Mr. Lange were in fact dead, the “HIV/AIDS movement has truly lost a giant,” USA Today reported.

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