Anika Chebrolu, 14, won the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge
Anika Chebrolu, an Indian American from Frisco, Texas, won the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge — and a $25,000 prize — for a discovery that could cure Covid-19.
Anika’s invention uses in-silico methodology to discover a lead molecule that can selectively bind to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Anika told CNN, “The last two days, I saw that there is a lot of media hype about my project since it involves the SARS-CoV-2 virus and it reflects our collective hopes to end this pandemic as I, like everyone else, wish that we go back to our normal lives soon.”
The 14-year-old didn’t start her 8th-grade project to find a cure for COVID instead her goal was to use in-silico methods to identify a lead compound that could bind to a protein of the influenza virus.
“Because of the immense severity of the Covid-19 pandemic and the drastic impact it had made on the world in such a short time, I, with the help of my mentor, changed directions to target the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”Anika said she was inspired to find potential cures to viruses after learning about the 1918 flu pandemic and finding out how many people die every year in the United States despite annual vaccinations and anti-influenza drugs on the market.”
Anika has an inquisitive mind and used her curiosity to ask questions about a vaccine for Covid-19,” Dr. Cindy Moss, a judge for the 3M Young Scientist Challenge, told CNN.”Her work was comprehensive and examined numerous databases. She also developed an understanding of the innovation process and is a masterful communicator. Her willingness to use her time and talent to help make the world a better place gives us all hope.
Anika now aims to work alongside scientists and researchers who are fighting to “control the morbidity and mortality” of the pandemic by developing her findings into an actual cure for the virus.
The young girl is not only a budding scientist, but she also finds recluse and joy performing ancient Indian dance form, Bharatnatyam.
Wishing her the best in all her discoveries and future endeavour.
Featured image: CNN