A 14-year-old Indian-American lady has gained a USD 25,000 younger scientist problem for a discovery that might present a possible remedy for COVID-19. Anika Chebrolu, an eighth grader from Frisco in Texas, gained the 3M Younger Scientist Problem, considered the US’ premier center faculty science competitors, for her work utilizing in-silico methodology for drug discovery to discover a molecule that may selectively bind to the Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 virus in an try to discover a treatment for the coronavirus pandemic, in response to the 3M Problem web site.
3M is an American manufacturing firm primarily based in Minnesota.
Chebrolu determined to participate within the Younger Scientist Problem after she battled a extreme influenza an infection final yr. She needed to discover a treatment for influenza. Nevertheless, that each one modified after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the web site mentioned.
“I used to be drawn in the direction of discovering efficient cures for influenza illness after a extreme bout of the an infection final yr,” Chebrolu mentioned.
“I want to be taught extra from 3M scientists to pursue my drug improvement and with their assist, want to conduct in-vitro and in-vivo testing of my lead drug candidate,” she mentioned.
Chebrolu was one of many 10 finalists on this yr’s 3M Younger Scientist Problem. Along with the prize cash, she was additionally awarded an unique 3M Mentorship.
As a finalist, she labored with 3M Company Scientist Dr Mahfuza Ali, who mentored Chebrolu one-on-one all through the summer season. Collectively, they reworked her concept from idea to actuality.
Dr Ali helped Chebrolu good her innovation by means of the scientific technique, and she or he offered her venture to a judging panel of scientists and leaders.
Every finalist was evaluated on a sequence of challenges and the presentation of their accomplished innovation.
“I’m extraordinarily humbled at being chosen America’s Prime Younger Scientist as all the finalists had wonderful initiatives and have been extraordinarily well-rounded people,” Chebrolu mentioned.
“Science is the idea of life and your entire universe and now we have an extended solution to go perceive it absolutely,” mentioned Chebrolu, who needs to turn out to be a medical researcher and professor.
Speaking to CNN, Chebrolu mentioned, “The final two days, I noticed that there’s a lot of media hype about my venture because it entails the SARS-CoV-2 virus and it displays our collective hopes to finish this pandemic as I, like everybody else, want that we return to our regular lives quickly.”
Chebrolu mentioned she was impressed to seek out potential cures to viruses after studying concerning the 1918 flu pandemic and discovering out how many individuals die yearly within the US regardless of annual vaccinations and anti-influenza medication in the marketplace.
“Chebrolu has an inquisitive thoughts and used her curiosity to ask questions on a vaccine for COVID-19,” Dr Cindy Moss, a decide for the competitors, advised CNN.
“Her work was complete and examined quite a few databases. She additionally developed an understanding of the innovation course of and is a masterful communicator. Her willingness to make use of her time and expertise to assist make the world a greater place provides us all hope,” Moss mentioned.
Chebrolu mentioned that profitable the prize and title of prime younger scientist is an honour, however her work is not accomplished.
Her subsequent aim, she says, is to work alongside scientists and researchers who’re preventing to “management the morbidity and mortality” of the pandemic by growing her findings into an precise treatment for the virus.
“My effort to discover a lead compound to bind to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus this summer season could seem like a drop within the ocean, however nonetheless provides to all these efforts,” she advised CNN.
“How I develop this molecule additional with the assistance of virologists and drug improvement specialists will decide the success of those efforts,” she mentioned.
Denise Rutherford, senior vice chairman of Company Affairs at 3M in his congratulatory message mentioned that amidst the challenges of a worldwide pandemic, high quality STEM schooling for all has turn out to be an much more pressing want.