May 26, 2024

Biobot Analytics unveils High Risk Substance Wastewater Platform

Dr. Mariana Matus, Biobot CEO & Cofounder.

Founded in 2017, Biobot initially set out to bring more real-time data to local communities tackling the opioid crisis. Biobot’s wastewater data and analyses were used by communities like the Town of Cary in North Carolina to inform public health interventions. In Cary’s case, the town discovered that prescription opioids were the most commonly consumed substance across all sites surveyed and responded accordingly.

As explained by local officials, “We increased our conversations about proper disposal and security of medications. Prior to the project, we disposed of 924 pounds of medication through take back events in 2017. In 2018, the amount increased more than 2.5 times to 2,511 pounds.” Ultimately, Cary reduced opioid overdoses by about 40% through improved resource allocation and more targeted public health messaging.

In early 2020, Biobot paused its opioid work to focus on the Covid-19 pandemic. They were the first group in the country to measure SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater and have since brought Covid-19 wastewater monitoring to communities across all 50 states.

“Although we had to focus our efforts on rapidly responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, we never lost sight of the opioid epidemic, which has only grown and brought a new record-breaking number of fatal overdoses in 2021,” said Dr. Mariana Matus, Biobot CEO & Cofounder. “We are at a point in our growth where we are able to support multiple platforms and are relaunching an improved product that will help communities better understand high-risk substance use and promote proactive response to prevent overdoses.”

Biobot’s High Risk Substance platform provides unbiased, naturally anonymized data on community use of fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine, and nicotine. Monthly reports help public health officials establish a baseline level of substance use in their community, identify which substances are most commonly used, determine seasonality of use, and better measure evidence-based public health interventions. And all this can be layered on top of Biobot’s existing infectious disease platform currently deployed in hundreds of communities in the United States.

New Castle County was one of the earliest users of Biobot’s wastewater data in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and is now one of the first to use Biobot’s High Risk Substance platform. “The opioid epidemic is a public health crisis impacting an entire generation of Delawareans, their families and their friends,” said Matthew Meyer, New Castle County Executive. “This is a disease that impacts every one of us – no matter your education, socioeconomic standing, or where you live. Through Biobot, New Castle will expand wastewater monitoring to gain a clearer understanding of substance use trends in our communities so we can direct our resources most effectively.”




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