Anika’s winning invention uses in-silico methodology to discover a lead molecule that can selectively bind to the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein.
“Over the past couple of days, I have seen that there is a lot of media hype about my project as it involves the SARS-CoV-2 virus and reflects our collective hopes to end this pandemic as I, like everyone else, want us to go. soon we will return to our normal life, “Anika told CNN.
Anika, who is American Indian, presented her project when she was in eighth grade, but was not always focused on finding a cure for Covid-19.
Initially, his goal was to use in silico methods to identify a lead compound that could bind to an influenza virus protein.
“After spending so much time researching pandemics, viruses, and drug discovery, it was crazy to think I was actually experiencing something like this,” Anika said.
“Due to the immense severity of the Covid-19 pandemic and the drastic impact it had on the world in such a short time, I, with the help of my mentor, changed direction to hit the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”
“Anika has a curious mind and used her curiosity to ask questions about a Covid-19 vaccine,” Dr. Cindy Moss, a 3M Young Scientist Challenge judge, told CNN.
“Her work has been comprehensive and she has gone through numerous databases. She has 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 her hope to all of us “.
Anika said that winning the award and the title of best young scientist is an honor, but her work is not done.
His next goal, he says, is to work alongside scientists and researchers who are fighting to “control the morbidity and mortality” of the pandemic by developing his findings into a true cure for the virus.
“My effort to find a lead compound to bind to the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein this summer may seem like a drop in the ocean, but it still adds to all these efforts,” he said. “How I develop this molecule further with the help of virologists and drug development specialists will determine the success of these efforts.”