Local doctor remembers colleague killed in Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 crash

Updated: 07/18/2014 11:07 PM
Created: 07/18/2014 10:52 PM WHEC.com
By: Scott Kilbury

According to several published reports, over 100 passengers on board Flight 17 were doctors and AIDS researchers. One local doctor, who will be headed to that summit, says his colleague is a giant in AIDS research and is also among those killed.

Dr. William Valenti said, “He will be sorely missed, a major figure to conquer this disease.”

Dr. William Valenti, of the University of Rochester, is talking about his friend and colleague, Joep Lange. He worked with him for over 30 years, trying to find a cure for HIV and AIDS. Lange was among more than 100 scientists and campaigners flying to the International Aids Conference on board Flight MH 17.

Dr. Valenti said, “The thing about Joep Lange that really matter is his global impact on HIV. One of the important things he did was he helped us understand how to prevent mother-baby transmission of HIV.”

Lange, a native of the Netherlands, was a leader in the field in the fight against AIDS. He was President of the International Aids Society from 2002 to 2004. Valenti says if it weren't for him, irradiating AIDS wouldn't even be a part of the conversation.

Dr. Valenti said, “To realize that somebody who still had a lot of time left to make an impact or continue his impact wasn't going to be able to do that and that is just a tremendous loss. The legacy will go on, but it's not like having him there.”

Joep Lange’s wife, also an AIDS researcher, was among the 298 killed on Malaysian Airline Flight 17.

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