Biobot Code of Ethics on Wastewater Intelligence
The COVID-19 pandemic brought accelerated adoption of wastewater intelligence (also known as wastewater epidemiology) to augment and complement other forms of public health monitoring. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, wastewater data was used as a leading indicator of clinical cases. And with the end of the public health emergency, wastewater data is one of the few last standing sources of truth still reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and many other health agencies.
Beyond COVID-19, wastewater is an untapped source of nearly limitless public health data. It is already in use for a multitude of other pathogens (mpox, influenza A and B, RSV, norovirus, etc) and high-risk substances, including opioids. Research is under way to further expand the use of wastewater monitoring to identify other biological threats in wastewater (sewage) from municipalities, transportation hubs like airports, and mass gathering sites like university campuses.
As a leader in wastewater intelligence, Biobot has the responsibility to guide the ethical principles of this field as it continues to expand.
Here, we present our first Code of Ethics, outlining our principles and values that guide our company’s conduct, operations and decision-making. We anticipate that our Code will continue to evolve as we continue to expand the use of wastewater intelligence, but wish to share with the larger public health community in the spirit of transparency and collaboration.
Biobot’s Principles for Ethical Wastewater
Improve the health of communities.
We recognize that our work in wastewater intelligence has vast implications for public health and beyond, and that within every public health monitoring program lies potential for harm. We have a deep-rooted responsibility to conduct our work in a manner that promotes public health and net societal benefits. Ultimately, our mission is to build a global wastewater intelligence system that supports proactive public health for the benefit of the communities we serve, and beyond.
We respect the privacy of the individuals and communities whose wastewater we analyze. Wastewater samples are a naturally anonymized aggregation of a community which is not personally identifiable. Biobot does not use wastewater data to identify individuals or intentionally collect any human DNA data from wastewater. Biobot safeguards all sensitive data and shares data only as permitted by our partners.
Respect our contributing populations.
Biobot believes that communities should be made aware of any monitoring, including that of wastewater. Biobot is committed to working with our partners wherever possible to ensure that the community is aware of any wastewater intelligence programs, including how the resulting data is being used.
Uphold scientific integrity.
We hold ourselves to the highest standards of scientific integrity and rigor in all of our work. Biobot will continue to validate all methods, protocols, analyses, and interpretations of our data. We will ensure our data is accurate, reliable, and reproducible, and will continue to evolve and iterate on best practices as our company and the field matures. We will be transparent about the limitations of our work, and provide clear and accessible information about the scope and objectives of our work.
Build trust in wastewater intelligence.
We are global leaders in wastewater intelligence and work to build trust in the field by spreading knowledge, sharing best practices, and by developing partnerships that help educate the public and uplift the field. Biobot works with each customer to build wastewater intelligence programs that fit their needs and align with our ethical standards. We treat all clients, partners, and employees with respect, fairness, and integrity. Biobot will not engage in conduct that could compromise the ethical standards of our company or damage the field as a whole.
Biobot Analytics’ Code of Ethics for wastewater intelligence outlines our guiding principles and values. We are committed to upholding these principles, and hope to set a foundation for others to follow and build on as this field evolves. We deeply value the trust and confidence of our community, and will work to earn and maintain that trust.