KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 — While most 14-year-olds are glued to their gaming consoles or going on social media in their free time, Anika Chebrolu was busy researching a potential cure for Covid-19.
The scientist in the making from Frisco, Texas took home a US$25,000 (RM104,000) cash prize after winning the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge, a prestigious science competition for middle school students earlier this week, CBS News reported.
“I isolated a lead compound from a database of almost 698 million molecules,” Chebrolu said.
According to her winner’s profile on 3M, the budding scientist “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.”
The bright teen who is of Indian heritage hopes her discovery will lead to a possible treatment to fight Covid-19 which has infected 41.6 million people and claimed over 1.14 million lives worldwide.
Chebrolu has been receiving wide media coverage for her win and was even interviewed by CNN’s Chris Cuomo on his Cuomo Prime Time slot Monday night.
Check out her winning video entry below:
Chebrolu, who has been described by US news networks as a person of many talents including Indian classical dance, made the discovery two years ago while researching on another pandemic — the Spanish flu.
“I just wanted to help the world and let children know that they can do whatever they want to accomplish,” she said.
Chebrolu hopes to be a medical researcher and professor in the future and is reported to be doing grown-up work while inspiring a new generation to dream big.
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