Combating the Opioid Crisis, One Flush at a Time

Startup Biobot Analytics monitors wastewater to identify at-risk neighborhoods Photo: Biobot Analytics A Biobot employee works with city workers to inspect a manhole prior to deployment. THE INSTITUTEMost people don’t spend time thinking about what’s in the waste they flush down the toilet. But health officials do. The urine in sewer water is a surprisingly rich source of information about the health of communities. Epidemiologists can analyze wastewater to check for viruses, chemicals, and both illegal and prescription drugs. Armed with that information, public health officials can stock up on vaccines, equip ambulances with life-saving medications, and run awareness campaigns. But testing wastewater samples can be an expensive, time-consuming job. Biobot Analytics, a startup in Somerville, Mass., that was spun out of MIT in 2017, is working to improve the process with its collection, measurement, and analysis service. Biobot uses portable devices to collect wastewater samples, which it analyzes in Continue reading Combating the Opioid Crisis, One Flush at a Time