We analyze sewage to map population health.
Biobot Analytics is the first company in the world to commercialize wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) – the process of analyzing sewage as a source of public health information. Sewage contains valuable information on human health because viruses, bacteria, and chemical metabolites are excreted in urine and stool. Biobot’s mission is to transform wastewater infrastructure into public health observatories to inform our response to the coronavirus pandemic. We enable public health officials at all levels of government to make sound, prudent decisions and direct scarce public health resources to the right places. In order to successfully commercialize WBE, Biobot has invested in the following protocols, pipelines, and materials: -Wastewater treatment facility sample collection protocols that have been implemented by hundreds of facilities across the country. -Transportation protocols and relationships with shipping providers accustomed to transporting hundreds of wastewater samples to Biobot per week. -Custom manufactured shipping kits and materials required for the kits. -Established laboratory assays for SARS-CoV-2 RNA extraction and quantification with qPCR, tested and optimized over thousands of wastewater samples to date. -Established QA/QC controls including: transportation blank, internal control, and spike-in control. -Computational biology pipeline to identify SARS-CoV-2 strains based on high throughput sequencing data. -Access to latest data modeling pipelines to convert quantitative estimates of virus concentration to Covid19 case estimates. -Results communicated via secure data transfer protocols, with data contextualized with thousands of samples collected across 42 states.
Wastewater testing collects information from groups of people, while clinical testing collects information from individuals. With WBE, Biobot provides a smart, proactive complement to existing public health infrastructure (e.g. wastewater testing and clinical testing go hand-in-hand). Wastewater-based tests often act as a leading indicator of an outbreak in a community, compared to clinical testing, for three key reasons: 1. Biology: Depending on the disease, virus can be shed in stool before individuals begin to experience symptoms, and individuals often don’t seek clinical tests until they start to feel sick. 2. Logistics: It is not feasible or practical to conduct a clinical test every day on every individual in a community. Wastewater-based testing can be conducted daily and, in most cases, can be incorporated into routine wastewater operational procedures. 3. Equity: Wastewater-based tests better represent the community as a whole. Each test represents every individual in the community that has used a toilet connected to a sewer, independent of where they live, whether they experience symptoms, or whether they have the time, money or access to clinical testing. Wastewater-based and clinical tests have a symbiotic relationship. Both data sources have their limitations, but when used together they provide independent confirmation of what is happening in a community. Wastewater-based tests can identify hidden infection hotspots in communities, which can then focus clinical testing efforts and community outreach programs and make both more efficient and impactful.
Biobot’s product offerings, from COVID monitoring to opioid tracing, can be used by government officials at the federal, state and local level, public utilities, businesses, universities and school campuses, and any other organizations with a desire to gain a comprehensive understanding of health in their community in order to make proactive and informed decisions to keep their community members safe and healthy. In May 2021, Biobot entered into a partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources and Centers for Disease Control to analyze the amount of COVID-19 in communities across the country through wastewater testing. Biobot also detects the presence of new variants of COVID-19 by sequencing viral RNA from samples. The program currently covers over 90 million people in 50+ states and territories.