AIDS community mourns as top experts feared killed in downed plane

By Sonali Paul and Kate Kelland MELBOURNE/LONDON (Reuters) – The world of AIDS research was in a state of shock on Friday after dozens of leading experts in the field were feared killed when a Malaysian plane was shot down over Ukraine, dealing a blow to hopes of curing the disease. Among them was Joep Lange, who researched the condition for more than 30 years and was considered a giant in the field, admired for his tireless advocacy for access to affordable AIDS drugs for HIV positive patients living in poor countries. His loss is massive,” Richard Boyd, professor of immunology at Monash University in Melbourne, told Reuters. “The cure for AIDS may have been on that plane, we just don’t know,” Trevor Stratton, an HIV/AIDS consultant who was attending a pre-event in Sydney, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “You can’t just help but wonder about the kind of expertise on that plane.” The conference, due to start on Sunday, features former U.S. President Bill Clinton among its keynote speakers and is expecting around 12,000 participants.
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