Cambridge, Mass. – December 21, 2023 – Biobot Analytics, a global leader in wastewater epidemiology, announced that the company has reached full enrollment for a nationwide program sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to conduct anonymous, population-level wastewater-based monitoring on drugs of use and misuse, and overdose reversal agents. This is the first program of its kind in the United States and follows a design similar to that of successful programs in the European Union and Australia.
In less than two months, Biobot recruited 70 wastewater treatment facilities and their associated public health departments into the program, with interest surpassing the program limit. Participants span 43 states, 62 counties representing approximately 35 million Americans, and include a diverse mix of urban and rural communities of varying sizes, ranging from San Diego, CA to Laredo, TX.
While few of these communities had previously tested wastewater for high-risk substances, all of them expressed a strong interest in utilizing wastewater data to better understand and prevent substance use disorder and overdose deaths. Throughout this process, Biobot was greeted with high levels of enthusiasm for this program from local officials looking for new and innovative ways to limit the deadly impact of fentanyl and similar substances.
In announcing the City of San Francisco’s participation in this initiative, Dr. Hillary Kunins, SFDPH Behavioral Director, explained: “We need all the tools available to identify the presence of substances that may be used to halt and reverse this deadly epidemic. Data from wastewater testing will help provide information about the presence of risky substances in San Francisco and prompt more strategic interventions aimed at saving lives.”
“Wastewater surveillance is among public health’s most powerful and sophisticated emerging tools,” said Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein, the county representing Buffalo, NY and another participant in the program. “Having access to data and monitoring from Biobot and partners will deepen our understanding of our community’s health trends – particularly around communicable diseases and substance use – while providing actionable data for public health interventions.”
Biobot CEO and Cofounder, Mariana Matus, added: “We’re thrilled to see so much momentum and support for wastewater epidemiology not only as a method to track infectious diseases, but also as a valuable tool to combat a range of public health and national security threats, such as the opioid epidemic. Our team will continue to innovate and launch new applications for wastewater in the years to come.”
About Biobot Analytics
Biobot Analytics is a global leader in wastewater epidemiology, founded with the goal of transforming wastewater infrastructure into real-time public health observatories. Having worked at hundreds of locations across all US states and territories and several countries, Biobot produces actionable information from wastewater to improve the health of communities around the world. Separately from their infectious illnesses work, Biobot also analyzes wastewater for the presence of High Risk Substances, such as opioids, to help communities better respond to substance use and implement harm reduction programming. More information on our mission and technology is available at our website, www.biobot.io.