The Network of the Indigenous Peoples-Solomons, NIPS, welcomes the abandonment of a US patent application that uses genetic samples from Solomon Islanders, in a case that raises major ethical questions.

The patent application was launched by US based lawyers on behalf of Taiwanese scientist, Dr Ko Ying-Chin.

According to the US Patent Application Information Retrieval system, US based lawyers representing Taiwanese scientist, Dr Ko Ying-Chin, have since filed an express abandonment application on the first of this month for the patent application number.

NIPS says the express abandonment was subsequently processed by the US body on Monday this week and now the status of the US patent application is listed as "expressly abandoned.

Effectively, the patent application is now stopped.

This patent application entitled "Method and Kit for Assessing Risk of Gout and Hyperuricemia," uses samples from 192 Solomon Islanders, collected at the National Referral Hospital and two clinics in Guadalcanal Province during a research trip led by Dr Ko in September 2006.

Dr Ko and his colleagues only abandoned the patent application after NIPS, along with other non-governmental organizations in the Solomon Islands, began to publicly challenge it.

The basis of this challenge was Dr Ko's failure to obtain proper informed consent from the blood donors for such commercialization.