It is with a heavy heart that we learned yesterday of the death of Dr. Joep Lange, his longtime companion Jacqueline, and many other HIV researchers and advocates in the plane crash of Malaysia Airlines flight 17. Like others on the plane, Joep was on the way to the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne. We have lost a major advocate and talented researcher for HIV therapy and prevention to this terrorist act. So ironic that people who dedicate their lives to helping others are taken from us in such a senseless way.
Joep was a past president of the IAS, he was the organizer of the HIV Vaccine Conference in Amsterdam and he was an active member of the EAB of the HVTN for many years. I have known and worked with Joep for over 25 years. Joep was best known for his work on the natural history of HIV and the development and implementation of antiviral chemotherapy. He was also a major advocate for HIV prevention and vaccine development. He was one of the original leaders of the Amsterdam cohort, conducted many clinical trials of combination ART, and was a major voice in getting ART therapy into Africa both for treatment of adults, as well as MTCT. He was known for his quiet sardonic wit, his attention to detail, his sharp common sense, and his ability to be forthright in his opinion. He was the best of a scientific advocate; data driven and with a tremendous heart and moral compass. His presence was always felt and he made an enormous impact on the health of people in the world. He will be missed and we must pledge to keep his principles close to our hearts and values.
Dr. Larry Corey
Principal Investigator, HVTN
President and Director Emeritus, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center