Biobot Analytics, a provider in wastewater intelligence, is launching a respiratory illnesses panel that will include concurrent wastewater monitoring for influenzas A and B (seasonal flu), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).

The recent “tripledemic” of influenza, RSV, and COVID-19 overwhelmed the U.S. healthcare system, and nearly 40% of U.S. households reported experiencing at least one of these respiratory illnesses in January. COVID-19 was associated with approximately 244,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2022, and the 2022-2023 flu season caused an estimated 19,000-57,000 deaths in the U.S., according to the CDC. RSV is the leading cause of lower respiratory tract-related hospitalization in children under one and causes an estimated 6,000-10,000 deaths each year among adults 65 years and older.

Further reading: CDC, Biobot Analytics Extend Wastewater Surveillance System Contract

Wastewater monitoring has proved to be a critical infrastructure for tracking the spread of respiratory illnesses within populations. Biobot’s Wastewater Intelligence Platform uses molecular technologies and advanced data analytics to analyze sewage, providing early warning health analytics to combat epidemics and improve health outcomes worldwide.

“The collective burden from these respiratory viruses is staggering. With these viruses circulating simultaneously and potentially shifting in seasonality and severity, communities must be able to understand the full impact of each of these illnesses to inform awareness and public health responses that can prevent infections, hospitalizations, and even deaths,” says Mariana Matus, CEO of Biobot Analytics. “Traditional testing methods for these illnesses do not provide a comprehensive picture of the number of people infected due to inaccurate reporting, as well as asymptomatic or misdiagnosed cases. By monitoring wastewater concurrently for influenza, RSV, and SARS-CoV-2, we can fill in these gaps and provide important information to communities.”

Biobot’s Respiratory Illnesses Panel builds on the company’s continuous efforts to transform wastewater infrastructure into real-time health observatories. Influenza and RSV join Biobot’s national network of monitoring for SARS-CoV-2, mpox virus, norovirus, and high-risk substances like fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine, and nicotine.

With sampling sites in hundreds of locations across the U.S., territories, and Canadian provinces, Biobot’s Respiratory Illnesses Panel will be available in time for cold and flu season this fall.