14-yr-old Indian-American girl wins $25,000 for a discovery that can potentially cure COVID-19


‘When will we have a vaccine?’ This is probably the most asked question on the planet at present. As scientists and researchers race to find a treatment for the novel coronavirus, we may be getting closer to the answer.

A 14-year-od Indian-American girl from Texas has won the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge and a $25,000 prize for a discovery that could provide a potential therapy to Covid-19, CNN has reported.

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

“I developed this molecule that can bind to a certain protein on the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This protein by binding to it will stop the function of the protein,” Anika told ABC News. Anika told CNN that she had submitted her project when she was in Class 8 and that it wasn’t always going to be focused on finding a cure for Covid-19.

“After spending so much time researching about pandemics, viruses and drug discovery, it was crazy to think that I was actually living through something like this,” Anika told CNN.

The Indian-American schoolgirl added, “Because of the immense severity of the Covid-19 pandemic and the drastic impact it had made on the world in such a short time, I, with the help of my mentor, changed directions to target the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”

“My effort to find a lead compound to bind to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus this summer may appear to be a drop in the ocean, but still adds to all these efforts,” Anika Chebrolu said.

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

Anika said the scope of the Covid pandemic and the stories about the people who were suffering inspired her. In 15 years, she hopes to be a medical researcher and professor.