Patient testing is limited, we need more ways to track COVID-19.
In collaboration with researchers at MIT, Harvard, and Brigham and Women's Hospital we've launched a pro bono program to map COVID-19 across the U.S.
We are a team of biologists, epidemiologists, data scientists, urban planners, and engineers.
New studies show that SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, is shed in stool meaning it’s collecting in our city sewers. We are establishing protocols to test sewage for SARS-CoV-2. If successful, this data will give communities a dynamic map of the virus as it spreads to new places.
Data from sewage will enable communities to:
Measure the scope of the outbreak independent from patient testing or hospital reporting, and include data on asymptomatic individuals,
Provide decision support for officials determining the timing and severity of public health interventions to mitigate the overall spread of the disease,
Better anticipate likely impact on hospital capacity in order to inform hospital readiness and the necessity of public health interventions,
Track the effectiveness of interventions and measure the wind-down period of the outbreak, and
Provide an early warning for reemergence of the coronavirus (if it does indeed have a seasonal cycle).
Biobot will ship participating facilities a sampling kit and sample collection protocols.
Wastewater facilities will collect 24-hour composite samples, and ship the samples back to Biobot laboratories.
Biobot will process the sewage samples to concentrate and inactivate viruses.
MIT Alm Lab will apply a RT-PCR protocol, adapted from published testing protocols, to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Biobot will communicate the test results back to participating communities.
All teams are doing this work pro bono, asking only that communities cover the costs of the sampling kit and shipping ($120 per sample). We recommend collecting 1-2 samples per week.
Note: If your community is unable to meet these costs, please contact us and we will do what we can to secure funding from partners.
Identify the wastewater facilities that are relevant to your community. The facilities should have access to a 24-hour composite sampling device.
Biobot will ship sampling kits and instructions to the wastewater facilities.
Each sampling kit includes supplies for transporting one sewage sample, an ice pack, a return shipping box and label, and instructions.Sample collection protocols
R&D starts at Biobot and MIT to validate collection and testing protocols.
R&D starts at Biobot, MIT, and Harvard on how to incorporate sewage test data into forecast models.
If you represent a government entity or wastewater facility, or if you want to encourage your city to send us samples, we want to talk to you. Fill out this form and someone from our team will be in touch.