14-year-old Indian American awarded $25,000 for potential Covid-19 drug

19th October 2020

19th October 2020

The Indian American teenager Anika Chebrolu

Anika Chebrolu, an Indian-American teenager from Texas won an award of $25,000 in the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge for her work on a potential drug to treat Covid-19, as per CNN reports.

A molecule has been developed by the 14-year-old that has the potential to bind with the coronavirus protein to stop its functioning.

ABC News quoted the eight-grader saying, "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."

On her big achievement, she said, "It's exciting. I'm still trying to process everything."

Coronavirus was not the initial focus of Chebrolu, she was working on the cure for seasonal flu at the beginning of the year but when the pandemic hit the world, she ran multiple computer programs to find out the potential molecule that would be able to bind with the protein of the virus, SARS-CoV-2.

In-silico methodology was used by Anika to find the best binding molecule for the coronavirus' spike protein to prevent it from functioning.

It is not clear whether her research has been tested on a live model, as per ABC News.

The 14-year-old aspires to be a medical professor and researcher someday and her inspiration for science comes from her grandfather.

Anika said, "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 to learn the periodic table of the elements and learn all these things about science and over time I just grew to love it."

To CNN she said, "The last two days, I saw that there is a lot of media hype about my project since it involves the SARS-CoV-2 virus and it reflects our collective hopes to end this pandemic as I, like everyone else, wish that we go back to our normal lives soon."

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