A 14-year-old Indian-American girl has discovered something that could prove to be a potential treatment for COVID-19 for which she has won a USD 25,000 in the young scientist challenge and an exclusive 3M Mentorship.

Meet Anika Chebrolu, who is an eighth grader from Frisco in Texas and has won the 3M Young Scientist Challenge. The 3M Challenge Website citing he work says that Anika's work comprises using in-silico methodology for drug discovery to find a molecule that can selectively bind to the Spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 virus in an attempt to find a cure for the coronavirus pandemic.

Anika Chebrolu

3M is an American manufacturing company based in Minnesota. Denise Rutherford, senior vice-president of Corporate Affairs at 3M, said in a message that the need of the hour is quality STEM education especially amidst the challenges of a global pandemic.

Anika's journey to 2020 Top Young Scientist

Anika had a severe bout of influenza in 2019 and it was then that she decided to take part in the Young Scientist Challenge. Since the illness she has been yearning to find a cure for influenza. However, she became even more determined after the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Apart from Anika, there were nine other finalists in this year's 3M Young Scientist Challenge.

Anika got to work with Corporate Scientist Dr Mahfuza Ali and her idea was transformed into reality under Dr Ali's mentorship. Her work was evaluated on a series of challenges and the presentation of her completed innovation.

She stated that she is humbled at her selection as the competition was tough and all the projects submitted were excellent. She wants to become a medical researcher and professor when she grows up and is very fond of science.

She plans not to stop here and aims to work alongside scientists and researchers who are making every possible attempt to control the mortality and morbidity of the pandemic by developing her findings into an actual cure for the virus.

She says that though her efforts are like a drop in the ocean but virologists and drug development specialists will be able to determine how successful her efforts are based on how she develops this molecule further.