Det störtade malaysiska planet kan ha haft flera forskare ombord, på väg till den 20:e internationella aidskonferensen i Melbourne. Owen Ryan, chef för konferensen har vid ett pressmöte kommenterat händelsen och sagt att om uppgifterna stämmer kan världen ha förlorat »giganter«, skriver den brittiska dagstidningen the Guardian. Den nederländske forskaren Joep Lange kan vara bland de omkomna. Joep Lange var tidigare chef för Internationella aidssällskapet, The International AIDS Society, IAS, som bland annat gjort följande uttalanden i samband med händelsen:

»The International AIDS Society today expresses its sincere sadness at receiving news that colleagues and friends en route to attend the 20th International AIDS Conference taking place in Melbourne, Australia, were on board the Malaysian Airlines MH17 flight that has crashed over Ukraine earlier today.

The IAS has also heard reports that among the passengers was a former IAS President Joep Lange and if that is the case then the HIV/AIDS movement has truly lost a giant.«

 »In recognition of our colleagues’ dedication to the fight against HIV/AIDS, the conference will go ahead as planned and will include opportunities to reflect and remember those we have lost.«