British Design Fund has invested £100k in the UK-based water tech startup Untap, as part of a £1.1 million fund from specialized funds and angel investors.
Untap has created a tool that can track the movement of infectious diseases like COVID-19 in sewage.
The London-based firm will use the financing to further the development of its technology and support the growth of its staff as it gets ready to sell its gadget, a wastewater surveillance system that can offer real-time data on community health.
Dr. Claire Trant and Dr. Jay Bullen, both graduates of Imperial College London, co-founded Untap intending to revolutionize the detection of viral illnesses. After observing the shortcomings of current testing techniques during the Covid-19 pandemic, the team, which had backgrounds in both water tech and sewage tech, set out to develop an affordable approach for monitoring community health via wastewater.
According to Dr. Claire Trant, non-invasive community-scale wastewater surveillance monitors health. However, those services were manual in the past, which made them expensive and slow. We were aware that an automated solution was required, which Untap is now developing.
“Pandemics are already on the rise, and the more densely populated an area is, the more likely it is that one will occur. We expect that our study will aid in the swift and effective response by health agencies to these outbreaks.
Without the need for individual testing, Untap’s automated, real-time wastewater surveillance system can identify viruses like Covid-19 to monitor community prevalence and determine case rates. The system can monitor an entire population for diseases using one test while guaranteeing 100% participation, and it can identify one diseased person among 10,000 healthy individuals.
British Design Fund (BDF) CEO Damon Bonser stated: “We’re delighted to welcome Untap to the BDF portfolio. Individual testing to track virus epidemics is pricy, intrusive, and time-consuming. With its cutting-edge technology, Untap provides a service that can significantly contribute to the global monitoring and control of transmissible illnesses. The caliber of the Untap team and the potential impact of their technology on international communities both pleased our investee committee.
Image Credit: Untap