Anika Chebrolu won a $25,000 prize from the 3M Young Scientist Challenge with her potential treatment for COVID-19. At just 14-years-old, she’s astonished the judges with her on a drug that would potentially stop the function of the protein in the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
She told a local news station in her hometown of Frisco, Texas, “I developed this molecule that can bind to a certain protein on the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This protein by binding to it it will stop the function of the protein.”
Chebrolu started out working towards finding different ways to help fight off the seasonal flu virus, but with the COVID-19, she shifted in a different direction. She explained to the station that she started with a database with over 698 million compounds to help her develop the molecule.
She then began working on multiple different computer programs, trying to figure out how the molecule would bind with the protein on the virus.
Anika also says that her grandfather, a former chemistry professor, was the person who pushed her into pursuing science when she was young. “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 learn the periodic table of the elements and learn all these things about science and over time I just grew to love it.”