14-Year-Old Girl Develops Possible COVID Treatment & Wins $25,000
October 17, 2020
FRISCO, Texas—14-year-old Indian-American Anika Chebrolu won a $25,000 prize after presenting her potential treatment for COVID-19 at the 3M Young Scientists Challenge on October 13, according to ABC 30.
Chebrolu is being called America’s top young scientist. “It’s exciting. I’m still trying to process everything,” the eighth-grader told KTVT.
“I developed this molecule that can bind to a certain protein on the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This protein by binding to it it will stop the function of the protein,” she stated.
Chebrolu 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, according to3M Young Scientist Lab.
Apparently, Chebrolu started off working on ways to treat the seasonal flu but changed her plans when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. She used multiple computer programs to identify how and where the molecule would bind to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
However, it’s unclear if Chebrolu was able to test her research in cells or a live model.
“My grandpa, when I was younger, he always used to push me toward science. He was actually a chemistry professor, and he used to always tell me learn the periodic table of the elements and learn all these things about science and over time I just grew to love it,” explained Chebrolu.
In an interview with 3M Young Scientist Lab, Chebrolu stated she hoped to be a medical researcher and professor in the next 15 years.
When asked why she entered the Young Scientist Challenge, Chebrolu replied, “I have always been amazed by science experiments since my childhood and I was drawn towards finding effective cures for Influenza disease after a severe bout of the infection last year. I would like to learn more from 3M scientists to pursue my drug development and with their help, would like to conduct in-vitro and in-vivo testing of my lead drug candidate.”