Home / Health / The 3M Young Scientist Challenge winner is Anika Chebrolu, who won for a coronavirus discovery

The 3M Young Scientist Challenge winner is Anika Chebrolu, who won for a coronavirus discovery

Anika Chebrolu, a 14-year-old from Frisco, Texas, just won the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge – and a $ 25,000 prize – for a discovery that could provide potential therapy for Covid-19.

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.

The coronavirus has killed more than 1
.1 million people worldwide since China reported its first case to the World Health Organization (WHO) in December. The United States has more than 219,000 deaths, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

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 said she was inspired to find potential cures for the viruses after learning about the 1918 flu pandemic and finding out how many people die each year in the United States despite annual vaccinations and flu drugs on the market.

“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 performs Bharatanatyam, an ancient Indian dance.

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.”

Of course, Anika also finds time to be a normal 14 year old. When not in a laboratory or working towards her goal of becoming a doctor or researcher, Anika trains for the Indian classical dance called Bharatanatyam, which she has been practicing for eight years.

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