"Her work was comprehensive and examined numerous databases"
US Indian teenager, Anika Chebrolu, who is only 14 years of age has won the revered national 3M Young Scientist Award related to her Covid-19 cure project.
Chosen from among ten finalists, her ground-breaking research has possibly paved a way for a Covid-19 cure.
Regarded as America’s premier school science competition, the US Indian teenager won the top $25,000 award.
As a finalist, Anika spent this summer collaborating with 3M Corporate Scientist Dr Mahufuza Ali.
The work investigated protein spikes on the COVID-19 virus. It involved using the in-silco methodology to find a molecule that can selectively bind to the ‘Spike’ protein. This would disable the virus’s ability to attach and attack the human lungs.
Chebrolu faced stiff competition as she presented her findings to a panel of scientists and leaders.
Having dazzled judges with her ability to communicate key findings, Chebrolu went on to pick up the top prize of $25,000. She also received an exclusive 3M Mentorship.
For the second time only, the company also held the 3M “Improving Lives Award”.
This is the competition’s public voting process which recognises one project that has the potential to change the most lives. The online voting took place from September 28 to October 9, 2020.
Anika the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge winner also picked up this award.
She stated that her research was spurred on by a recent personal battle with severe influenza. She wanted to find a cure for influenza. That all changed when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and her goals shifted to help combat this.
The newly crowned winner was humble in accepting her award and accredited her grandfather for her interest in Science:
“My grandpa, when I was younger, he always used to push me toward science.”
“He was actually a chemistry professor, and he used to always tell me to learn the periodic table of the elements and learn all these things about science”
Dr Cindy Moss, a judge for the competition said:
“Her work was comprehensive and examined numerous databases. She also developed an understanding of the innovation process and is a
“masterful communicator. Her willingness to use her time and talent to help make the world a better place gives us all hope.”
Since the first reported case in December last year the World Health Organisation says that there have been over 40 million cases.
The virus has now killed over 1.1 million people.