AjeyoLAST UPDATED: Oct. 19, 2020, 10:50 a.m.
Washington DC: An Indian-American teenager has been awarded a prize of $25,000 (Rs 18,34,300) for her research to find a cure for coronavirus.
As reported by CNN, Anika Chebrolu, a 14-year-old Texas native, has won the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge for her work on a potential drug to treat COVID-19.
The student has developed a molecule, which can bind a certain protein of the coronavirus and prevent it from functioning.
She points out that her science project is an indication that everyone wants the coronavirus pandemic to end.
"The last two days, I saw that there is a lot of media hype about my project since it involves the SARS-CoV-2 virus and it reflects our collective hopes to end this pandemic as I, like everyone else, wish that we go back to our normal lives soon," Anika said.
"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. 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," she added.
"It is exciting. I am still trying to do something."
When the coronavirus pandemic started, Anika was working on ways to fight seasonal flu. Her plan changed when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. The 14-year-old Anika used several computer programs to find a possible drug for the highly infectious COVID-19 virus, to find out how and where the molecule would attach to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Anika used the silica method for drug discovery to find the molecule that could pick up the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in an attempt to find a cure for the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to ABC News, it is unclear whether her research has been tested on a live model. Anika said that her grandfather inspired her interest in science. She hopes to become a medical researcher and professor.
"When I was younger my grandfather always pushed me towards science. He was a chemistry professor and always asked me to learn and learn about the periodic table of elements and science that's where I got Fell in love with all this," Anika said.