• New Castle County, Delaware, is working to find the undetected spread of the coronavirus in its community — by examining wastewater in its sewers.
  • BioBot Analytics, an AI startup made in collaboration between MIT and Harvard, is assisting communities by analyzing sewage samples for coronavirus. If detected, it uses AI to predict where the virus may have spread.
  • “It’s both a little scary to realize there’s more there than we thought, but also a little hopeful because it may indicate there are a lot more antibodies than we realize,” New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer told WPVI.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A county in Delaware is analyzing coronavirus spread in the community by examining wastewater after studies have shown the virus can be detected in excrement.

A Massachusetts-based AI startup BioBot Analytics estimates that more than 15,000 people were infected with COVID-19 in New Castle County, Delaware — 10 times more cases than those revealed by coronavirus tests.

BioBot, a collaboration between MIT and Harvard, will analyze sewage samples and, if detected, use AI to predict where the coronavirus may have spread. The startup is currently doing the work pro bono, “asking only that communities cover the costs of the sampling kit and shipping,” Business Insider’s Jeff Elder reported.

“It’s both a little scary to realize there’s more there than we thought, but also a little hopeful because it may indicate there are a lot more antibodies than we realize,” New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer told local news station WPVI.

The sewer examinations are the latest push to find the undetected spread of the coronavirus, as lack of initial nasal testing kits has led to unreported cases.

Meyer told WPVI the wastewater testing could show hotspots in the county to show where to concentrate testing.

“You can get tests from different substations,” Meyer said. “You can then say, ‘OK, these are where our top three hotspots are, and we should focus our testing there.'”

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