14-year-old Indian American discovered molecule that could lead to a cure for COVID-19
CBS11 Frisco, Texas
Anika Chebrolu, 14, from Frisco, Texas, won the 3M Young Scientist Challenge (considered the first college science competition in the United States) and $ 25,000 for discovering a molecule that many hope will lead to a potential cure. COVID-19, according to CBS11 Frisco, Texas.
Chebrolu, a student at Independence High School, had started her project on ways to fight seasonal flu, but like many professional scientists, her plans changed when the coronavirus pandemic struck. She says she was motivated by the scale of the pandemic and the people who were suffering from it.
In order to find her potential drug, she used several computer programs to identify how and where the molecule would bind to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
“I developed this molecule which can bind to a certain protein of the SARS virus COVID-2,” Chebrolu explained. “This protein by binding to it will stop the protein’s function … I started with a database of over 682 million compounds.”
She received many best wishes and congratulations from people all over the world on Twitter, including Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India.
@KesineniSwetha tweeted: “From Kamala Harris to Anika Chebrolu, the Indian diaspora never ceases to amaze us! Extremely proud of this 14-year-old Indo-American student, who could well change the course of this pandemic and ultimately the history of humanity!
Other remarks on Twitter are “An incredible story. This is why we need women in STEM ”,“ Congratulations to Anika Chebrolu and all the #YoungScientific finalists. What an insanely talented and passionate group of young problem solvers, ”and“ Who’s gonna change the world ?! GIRLS! “
She also had the distinction of virtually ringing the New York Stock Exchange closing bell last Thursday to celebrate:
She describes herself as a typical teenage girl who, unsurprisingly, plans to pursue a career as a medical researcher after graduating from school. She credits her grandfather, a chemistry teacher, for pushing her towards science.
In addition to her scientific research, she is involved in Indian classical dance training and practices her skills as an artist. “I describe myself as a person who aspires to be a lot of things,” Chebrolu said.