Biobot Analytics tracks the spread of Covid-19 by analyzing the wastewater of a given population, and this method is cheaper than individual testing while offering earlier warnings and better trend analysis.
Biobot Analytics is a Cambridge-based wastewater analysis company with strong links to MIT. With its patented technology, Biobot takes a unique approach to Covid-19 testing. By analyzing wastewater samples, this company can detect spikes in Covid-19 cases before individuals have displayed any symptoms. This approach is cheaper than individual mass testing, and it also offers earlier warnings and superior trend analysis.
Founded by students at MIT, Biobot Analytics was using its wastewater analysis technology to detect drug usage in communities prior to the pandemic. This was especially useful in fighting and addressing the opioid epidemic, although this technology has been successfully adapted for use in Covid-19 detection. In November of 2020, it was announced that the Cambridge City Council had funded an initiative to make wastewater data publicly available on the municipality’s online Covid-19 dashboard. This was thanks to $175,000 in funding from Cambridge’s City Council.
This unique approach to Covid-19 is not intended for use by individuals, and it instead detects Covid-19 markers present in an entire population. For this reason, the target market for Biobot Analytics is clearly the public sector, and expansion will most likely take place in other municipalities across the United States. Biobot currently offers testing kits through its website, and it has built the largest network of communities that implement wastewater epidemiology to track the spread of Covid-19.
Sam Lipson, the environmental health director of the Cambridge Public Health Department, stressed the possible applications of Biobot’s technology for the public health sector. He stated: “It’s promising and exciting technology because it provides something public health rarely has, which is a real-time metric for community infection.”