As global scientists and researchers scramble to develop a coronavirus vaccine, a 14-year-old Indian-American girl has made a discovery that could lead to a potential cure for COVID-19.
Anika Chebrolu from Texas has won the ‘2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge’ award and a USD 25,000 prize for her discovery.
She used an in-silico methodology to discover a lead molecule that can selectively bind to the spike protein of the coronavirus.
“I developed this molecule that can bind to a certain protein on the SARS-CoV-2 virus. By binding to it, this molecule will stop the function of the protein,” said Anika.
Even though Anika had submitted the project when she was in 8th grade, at that time, it wasn’t focused on finding a cure for COVID-19. Initially, she aimed to use an in-silico methodology to discover a lead compound that could bind to a protein of the influenza virus.
“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 said.
“My effort to find a lead compound to bind to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus this summer may appear to be a drop in the ocean, but still adds to all these efforts,” Anika added.
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