Anika Chebrolu has won a $25,000 prize for her work on a potential Covid-19 treatment.
Along with the prize money, 14-year-old Anika has also been conferred the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist” for winning this year’s 3M Young Scientist Challenge, a middle school science competition in the US.
Her invention uses 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.
Anika, who comes from Frisco, Texas, said that she entered the competition as she has “always been amazed by science experiments” since her childhood, according to 3M.
She said she was originally drawn towards finding effective cures for influenza disease after a severe bout of the infection last year.
But because of the widespread impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, she changed directions to target SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19, she told CNN.
Anika said she would like to learn more from 3M scientists to pursue her drug development and with their help and that she would like to conduct in-vitro and in-vivo testing of her lead drug candidate.
The young scientist who finds internet to be the most exciting invention of the past 100 years, hopes to become a medical researcher and professor in the next 15 years.
When she is not pursuing her education or science goals, Anika trains for the Indian classical dance Bharatanatyam.