July 18, 2014

IAVI Pays Tribute to Victims of the Malaysia Airlines Tragedy

The IAVI community extends our deepest condolences to the families and friends of all those who died in yesterday’s Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 disaster. While many details remain unconfirmed, we know that at least some of the lives lost were close partners and colleagues in the global fight to end HIV/AIDS, who were continuing to act on their commitment to the cause by traveling to the AIDS 2014 Conference in Melbourne.

Among those reported lost was Joep Lange, head of the Department of Global Health at the University of Amsterdam’s Academic Medical Center (AMC) and Executive Scientific Director of the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD); former President of the International AIDS Society, former member of IAVI’s Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), and a continuing member of IAVI’s Clinical Trials Subcommittee.

“Joep Lange was a leader in the antiretroviral field since the earliest days of HIV and a passionate advocate to widen access to HIV care around the world,” said Wayne Koff, IAVI Chief Scientific Officer. “His many friends and colleagues will miss his soft-spoken warmth, compassionate nature and wonderful sense of humor.”

“This is a very sad day and especially tragic stemming from senseless warmongering and violence,” said Alex Godwin Coutinho, Executive Director of the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) in Kampala and Chair of IAVI’s Board of Directors. “Joep Lange was instrumental in setting up IDI and served on our scientific advisory committee. He was a visionary who campaigned relentlessly for affordable HIV treatment in Africa and Asia, believing that access to HIV care was a basic human right and working tirelessly to convince clinicians, researchers, donors, and policy makers to remember the poor and vulnerable people living with HIV/AIDS. We shall miss him dearly.”

“We carry all those lost and their families in our hearts, and will pay tribute to the passion our partners brought to our common mission by working even harder to achieve a world without AIDS,” said Margie McGlynn, IAVI President and CEO.