Biobot Launches COVID-19 Detection, Modeling via Wastewater Analysis
SOMERVILLE, Mass. and WALTHAM, Mass., April 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- To enhance COVID-19 tracking and trending, Biobot Analytics is applying its technology to analyze biological data from sewers to help identify the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19. Due to limited COVID-19 patient testing, many public health officials do not have the data required to determine the scope of the outbreak, model the pandemic accurately, or respond based on severity. Learn more about the program at https://www.biobot.io/covid19/.
Biobot's wastewater analysis can help to increase modeling accuracy without direct interaction with an increasingly strained healthcare system. Biobot analysis provides communities with a dynamic virus map of pandemic changes such as the spread to new areas and a reduction in established hotspots.
New studies show that SARS-CoV-2 is shed in stool, meaning it's collecting in sewer systems. "Wastewater epidemiology can help to gauge the level of COVID-19 infection because a broad community or area can be tested rapidly," said Newsha Ghaeli, Biobot Analytics co-founder and president. "And by identifying SARS-CoV-2 in asymptomatic individuals, Biobot can help public health officials plan more effectively."
Biobot is actively supporting COVID-19 epidemiology in two ways:
1) Establish protocols to test sewage for SARS-CoV-2. Biobot, along with researchers at MIT, Harvard, and Brigham and Women's Hospital, announced a program to map COVID-19 nationally. The researchers are providing the work pro bono; communities only need to cover sample kit and shipping costs ($120 per sample). Communities will collect and ship their samples to Biobot.
2) Increase its automated sampling to run for seven consecutive days. Expanding sampling from one day to seven, along with additional product ruggedization, builds on an earlier Biobot prototype used during a successful pilot with a North Carolina municipality to improve its understanding of community opioid use.
To access product engineering and manufacturing support, Biobot contacted FORGE, a nonprofit organization established by Greentown Labs, the largest cleantech incubator in North America, to support product startups from initial prototyping and design through production.
Through FORGE, Biobot selected Boston Engineering to enhance its product capabilities and design for manufacturability. In 2019, Boston Engineering enhanced Biobot product design and manufactured 12 prototypes. The Biobot product roadmap includes producing advanced prototypes and making additional enhancements for scalable manufacturing.
"Working with Boston Engineering, through FORGE's connection, has been transformative to our work," said Mariana Matus, CEO and co-founder of Biobot Analytics.
"We are proud to help Biobot scale the availability of its system to provide public health officials with new levels of actionable insight," said Mark Smithers, CTO of Boston Engineering.
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SOURCE Boston Engineering