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COVID-19: Indian-American teen discovers potential cure

Rida Shaikh

The “coronavirus vaccine” is likely to be the most searched topic this year. While many scientists and researchers are competing to find treatment for the deadly virus, it seems that we may be getting close to the answer. CNN has reported that a 14-year-old girl from texas has discovered something potential that could provide effective therapy to the COVID-19 infection.

The Indian-American girl Anika Chebrolu’s invention uses in-silico methodology to find out a lead molecule that can selectively bind to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Anika told ABC News, “I developed this molecule that can bind to a certain protein on the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This protein, by binding to it, will stop the function of the protein.”

For this discovery, Anika has been awarded the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge and a $25,000 prize. Anika Chebrolu told CNN that she had submitted her project while she was studying in Class 8. She also informed that her project wasn’t always focused on finding a cure for the coronavirus. She told CNN, “After spending so much time researching about pandemics, viruses and drug discovery, it was crazy to think I was actually living through something like this.”

She furthermore added, “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. 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 it still adds to all these efforts.”

The Indian-American school-going teenager said, “How I develop this molecule with the help of virologists and drug development specialists will determine the success of these efforts.”

Anika Chebrolu claimed that she was inspired by the scope of the novel coronavirus pandemic and the people who suffered due to it. She aspires to become a medical researcher and a professor in the next fifteen years.


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