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The 14-year-old girl won a $ 25,000 prize for a discovery that could lead to the treatment of Covid-19.

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When scientists around the world are competing to find a cure for the coronavirus, the young girl in it stands out.

14-year-old Anika Chebrolu from Frisco, Texas, won 2020. 3M Young Scientist Challenge -And a $ 25,000 prize-for discoveries that could offer a potential cure for Covid-19.

Anika’s award-winning invention uses in silico techniques to discover lead molecules that can selectively bind to the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein.

“For the last two days, I’ve found a lot of media hype about my project because of the SARS-CoV-2 virus involved. This is like everyone else, I’m going It reflects our collective desire to end this pandemic because we want to, and will soon return to our normal life, “Anika told CNN.

Coronavirus killed more 1.1 million people Worldwide since China reported the first case to the World Health Organization (WHO) in December. More than 219,000 people have died in the United States, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

Anika, an Indian-American, submitted her project when she was in eighth grade, but she wasn’t always focused on finding a cure for Covid-19.

Initially, her goal was to use in silico methods to identify lead compounds that could bind to influenza virus proteins.

“After spending a lot of time researching pandemics, viruses, and drug discovery, I was crazy to think that I was actually alive,” Anika said.

“Due to the enormous severity of the Covid-19 pandemic and the dramatic impact it has had on the world in such a short period of time, I targeted the SARS-CoV-2 virus with the help of my mentor. I changed the direction of doing it. “

Anika said she was encouraged to find a potential cure for the virus after learning about it. 1918 influenza pandemicc Then find out how many people die each year in the United States, despite the fact that there are annual vaccinations and anti-influenza drugs on the market.

“Anika was curious and curious about the Covid-19 vaccine,” Dr. Cindymos, a judge at the 3M Young Scientist Challenge, told CNN.

“Her work is comprehensive and she has searched numerous databases. She is also a good communicator with a better understanding of the innovation process. To use her time and talent to make the world a better place. Motivation gives us all hope. “

Anika said it was an honor to win the awards and titles of the top young scientists, but her work is not over.

Her next goal is to collaborate with scientists and researchers fighting to “control morbidity and mortality” in pandemics by developing her findings into actual treatments for the virus. ..

“This summer, my efforts to find lead compounds that bind to the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein may seem like a drop in the ocean, but they are still added to all these efforts.” She said. “How to further develop this molecule with the help of virologists and drug development experts will determine the success of these efforts.”

Of course, Anika also finds time to be the usual 14 years old.Anika trains for Indian classical dance when she is not in the lab or working towards her goal of becoming a doctor or researcher Balatana Tiyam, She has been practicing for 8 years.

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