14-year-old Anika Chebrolu, an Indian-American from Texas, has won the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge for work on a potential drug to treat COVID-19. Chebrolu has been awarded $25,000 for her research to find a treatment for the virus.
The teenager has developed a molecule that can bind to a certain protein of the coronavirus and prevent it from functioning.
Talking about the developed molecule, the eight-grader said it can bind to a certain protein on the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
When the year began, Anika started working on ways to fight seasonal flu. But her plans changed when the pandemic hit. In order to find a potential drug for the highly infectious virus, the 14-year-old used multiple computer programs to identify how and where the molecule would bind to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Anika used in-silico methodology for drug discovery to find a molecule that can selectively bind to the Spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in an attempt to find a cure for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anika, who hopes to be a medical researcher and professor one day, said that her grandfather inspired her interest in science. Chebrolu shared that her grandfather was a Chemistry professor and used to push her towards science. He made her learn the periodic table of the elements and learn all these things about science and over time she started loving it.