The 14-year-old girl wins a $ 25,000 award for discoveries that...

The 14-year-old girl wins a $ 25,000 award for discoveries that...
The 14-year-old girl wins a $ 25,000 award for discoveries that...

As scientists around the world search for treatment for the coronavirus, a young girl stands out among them.

Anika Chebrolu, 14, of Frisco, Texas, has just won the 3M Young Scientist Challenge 2020 – and a $ 25,000 (AUD 35,380) award – for a discovery that could offer COVID-19 a potential therapy.

Anika’s successful invention uses the in-silico method to discover a lead molecule that can selectively bind to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

“In the past two days I’ve seen my project getting a lot of media coverage as it is the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and it reflects our collective hopes to end this pandemic as I, like everyone, do others, wish that we go back to our normal lives soon, ”Anika told CNN.

Coronavirus has killed more than 1.1 million people worldwide since China reported its first case to the World Health Organization (WHO) in December.

There are more than 219,000 deaths in the United States, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Technology.

Anika Chebrolu, 14, won the 3M Young Scientist Challenge 2020. Recognition: 3M Young Scientist Challenge

Anika, an Indian, submitted her project when she was in 8th grade.

But it shouldn’t always be about finding a cure for COVID-19.

Their first goal was to use in-silico methods to identify a lead compound that can bind to a protein of the influenza virus.

“After spending so much time researching pandemics, viruses, and drug discovery, it was crazy to think I was actually going through something like this,” Anika said.

change of direction

“Due to the immense severity of the Covid-19 pandemic and the drastic effects it had on the world in such a short time, I have changed direction with the help of my mentor to fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”

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

“Anika is curious and has used her curiosity to ask questions about a vaccine against COVID-19,” said Dr. Cindy Moss, judge at the 3M Young Scientist Challenge, told CNN.

Comprehensive work

“Your work has been extensive and examined numerous databases. She also developed an understanding of the innovation process and is a masterful communicator.

“Your willingness to use your time and talent to make the world a better place gives us all hope.”

Anika said it was an honor to win the Top Young Scientist award and title, but her job was not done yet.

Anika performs Bharatanatyam, an ancient Indian dance. Recognition: the Chebrolu family.

Her next goal is to work with scientists and researchers struggling to control “the morbidity and mortality” of the pandemic – by developing their findings into an actual cure for the virus.

“My efforts to find a lead compound that will bind to the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein this summer seem like a drop in the bucket, but still contribute to all of these efforts,” she said .

“How I develop this molecule with the help of virologists and drug development specialists will determine the success of these efforts.”

Of course, Anika also finds time to normally be 14 years old.

When she is not in a laboratory or working towards her goal of becoming a doctor or researcher, Anika trains in the classical Indian dance Bharatanatyam, which she has been practicing for eight years.

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