14-year-old Anika Chebrolu wins $25K Prize for Discovery that Could Possibly Cure COVID-19



14-year-old Anika Chebrolu wins $25K Prize for Discovery that Could Possibly Cure COVID-19

In her project, Anika used in-silico methodology that helped her find a molecule that can selectively bind to the Spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

FREMONT, CA: Anika Chebrolu, an eight-grader from Texas, won this year's 3M Young Scientist Challenge and along with a $25K prize. Even though that's enough to make headlines alone, she may also have found a possible lead to treat COVID-19.

In her project, Anika used in-silico methodology that helped her find a molecule that can selectively bind to the Spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

After researching the competition, Anika stumbled upon the 1918 flu and was then astonished by the case numbers in influenza around the world. She then decided to work on finding cures for viruses.

At first, she was looking to use in-silico methods to identify a lead compound that could bind to the influenza virus's protein rather than SARS-CoV-2. However, with the ongoing pandemic that has had devastating effects on our health and the way we live, Anika decided to focus on working on SARS-CoV-2 along with the help of her mentor.

She commented on the current situation of the world by saying, "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 also added that she's working to achieve more now that she's onto something crucial for the sake of humanity. She has her mindset on working alongside scientists and researchers in the fight against COVID-19 by furthering her research and eventually developing her project until it evolves into an actual cure for the virus.