字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 We've got blood tests, we've got nasal swabs, all kinds of ways to detect the coronavirus, and now we can add to that mix, poop, specifically, wastewater. There's a company called Biobot that's analyzing this wastewater to try and look for the coronavirus. And they've found that in a lot of cases, the virus is much more widespread than the more conventional test would show. So let's head off to Massachusetts to interview the founders of Biobot. Would you two mind introducing yourselves, maybe Mariana first? My name is Mariana Matus. I am co-founder and CEO of Biobot Analytics. My name is Newsha Ghaeli, and I am co-founder and president at Biobot Analytics. Your company, the two of you have come up with a pretty unique way to look at the coronavirus. I mean, you're talking about sewage coming from different parts of the country, right? Correct. We can detect the virus in wastewater because people who are infected shed the virus in stool, and it makes its way into the wastewater infrastructure. Then wastewater treatment plants collect samples and send them to us. Right now, Biobot has a pro bono campaign, and we are testing about 10% of the US population on a weekly basis, versus about 1% of the US population that is being tested through the clinics. And the results that you've already seen are pretty striking. Yeah. Our first results were gathered from a large metropolitan region in Massachusetts. And on the day that the samples were collected, there were about 450 confirmed clinical cases in that community. And what we were able to see via sewage testing is that there were up to 100,000 people infected with coronavirus in that catchment area. So just dramatically more than what the regular tests were showing? Yeah, exactly. There's actually a large asymptomatic population, likely, or individuals who have very mild symptoms. and so they're not seeking out testing. However, they're captured and represented in sewage data, and so we're seeing them in our tests. And I know you get a 50-milliliter sample. How is that representative of an entire city's population? So, treatment plants, they can sample the wastewater as it comes into the treatment plant constantly through 24 hours to guarantee that we get representation from every toilet flush that went through that community. And then from that aggregate sample, they are taking a small aliquot and sending that to us. And using that sample, we measure how much virus was present in the wastewater with a technique called QPCR, that looks for the genetic signature of the virus. Okay. And you'd already had this company up and running to look for other, what, other diseases in wastewater already? Correct. We originally were working with the opioid epidemic, measuring the concentration of different types of prescription opioids in wastewater to create better programs. It's not the most glamorous job, maybe. What drew you to this field? I really grew up with hardship, so I've always been passionate about creating technologies that help with equity and just bringing better resources to people who need it. And the beauty of looking at wastewater as a diagnostic is that everybody has a voice in the sewer. You don't need to have the money to go to the doctor. You don't need to have medical insurance. As long as your house is connected to the wastewater, your information is counted, and we can bring that to create better programming. What's your vision for how this plays out over the coming years? Yeah, our vision is that one day this technology will be basic infrastructure for every city and town worldwide. So we will be constantly screening our populations for new outbreaks of the novel coronavirus. And in this next week, two weeks, three weeks, there's just going to be more and more data coming out, obviously, from the work you're doing. All of the facilities that we're working with really believe that weekly testing is very important. One of the biggest questions facing government and decision makers right now is how and when can we start to safely open up our cities again and our economies again, and testing at scale is one of the most critical things in order to help us get there. And we're not going to be able to test every single individual; that's just not realistic. And so, this type of testing can really be helpful in making these types of decisions of scaling back quarantine-style measures or social distancing. And so, all of the facilities that we're working with are sending us weekly samples, we're giving weekly data back to them, and, yeah, we're excited to see how that progresses.