A teenage girl in Texas is getting national recognition for her work on a potential treatment for COVID-19 … and she’s already getting paid.
Anika Chebrolu, a 14-year-old freshman at Independence High School in Frisco, is being hailed as the country’s top young scientist … and she won $25,000 for her potential coronavirus breakthrough.
Anika won the 3M Young Scientist Challenge for her hard work identifying a potential drug to treat COVID-19. The brilliant student says she developed — while in the 8th grade — a molecule that binds to a protein on the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and essentially stops the virus from functioning. A brilliant discovery for an adult, much less a kid.
This part will blow your mind, unless you’re a scientist — Anika says she started with a database of over 682 million compounds and used a few computer programs to figure out how and where the molecule would bind to the virus.
We’ll take her word for it.
Anika was still in middle school when she entered the contest and was initially planning her science project around finding ways to combat seasonal flu. But, like many pro scientists, she pivoted when the pandemic hit.
She says she drew inspiration from stories about people suffering from COVID-19 … and she’s also crediting her grandpa, a chemistry professor, for steering her toward science.