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No Fear No Favour

Indian-American teen Anika Chebrolu wins $25,000 for work on potential Covid-19 treatment

Byline by-Vinayak Heliwal

Anika Chebrolu, a 14-Year Old 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.

Anika Chebrolu, an eighth-grader from Frisco in Texas, won the 3M Young Scientist Challenge, regarded as the US’ premier Middle School Competition, for her work using in-silico methodology for drug discovery to find a molecule that can selectively bind to the Spike Protein of SARS-COV-2 virus in an attempt to find a cure for the coronavirus pandemic.

Anika decided to take part in Young Scientist Challenge after she battled a severe influenza infection last year. She initially wanted to find a cure for influenza. However, that all changed after the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Anika also added that winning the prize and title of the top young scientist is an honor, but her work isn’t done.Her next goal is to work alongside scientists and researchers who are fighting to ‘control the morbidity and mortality’ of the pandemic by developing her findings into an actual cure for the virus.

“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 said.

“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.

Anika said the scope of the Covid-19 pandemic and the stories about the people who were suffering inspired her. In 15 years, she hopes to become a medical researcher and professor.

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