This Teen May Have Just Helped Find a COVID-19 Cure
A 14-year-old girl from Texas may have just discovered a potential cure for COVID-19.
Anika Chebrolu from Frisco, Texas, took home the whopping $25,000 grand prize in the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge after she “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,” as per the Challenge’s website.
I, like everyone else, wish that we go back to our normal lives soon.
The teenager submitted her project when she was in 8th grade in an effort to “identify a lead compound that could bind to a protein of the influenza virus,” according to CNN.
"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," Chebrolu told the network.
"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 (@ChebroluAnika) October 19, 2020
With more than 40 million cases of the virus reported around the globe and more than 1 million dead, the buzz surrounding her win has been extensive. Chebrolu told CNN that she believes the “media hype” about her project “reflects our collective hopes to end this pandemic.”
“I, like everyone else, wish that we go back to our normal lives soon," she said.
Chebrolu said on the Challenge’s website that she was inspired to partake in the contest because she’s “always been amazed by science experiments since my childhood.”
“I was drawn toward finding effective cures for Influenza disease after a severe bout of the infection last year," she explained. "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."