World's top Aids researchers among those killed in MH17 crash

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Some of the world's top Aids experts, including scientists and researchers, were among those killed when the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash was shot down on Thursday night.

These experts were bound for the 20th International Aids Conference in Melbourne, Australia.

Veteran Aids researcher and former president of the International Aids Society Joep Lange died in the crash. He had been involved in HIV treatment and research for more than 30 years, working for the Worldd Health Organisation (WHO).

World Health Organisation spokesman Glenn Raymond Thomas is also believed to have been on the doomed flight.

Some 100 passengers were on board were to attend the conference, which will be held from July 20 to July 25.

A spokesman for the International Aids Society said the organisation was seeking to confirm the identities of those killed in the incident.

"The International Aids Society (IAS) today expresses its sincere sadness at receiving news that a number of colleagues and friends en route to attend the 20th International Aids Conference taking place in Melbourne, Australia, were on board the Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight that has crashed over Ukraine earlier today," the organisation said in a statement.

Former US president Bill Clinton and activist Bob Geldof will be at the event.

UN Aids Executive Director Michael Sidibé tweeted about the loss.

Sources: Xinhua, The Guardian, New York Daily News