“I developed this molecule that may bind to a sure protein on the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This protein by binding to it is going to cease the perform of the protein” stated Chebrolu, who hopes to in the future be a medical researcher and professor. She used various pc applications to establish how and the place the molecule would bind to the virus.
Whereas Chebrolu initially started her venture to discover a treatment for winter influenza, she modified the course amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “I used to be drawn in the direction of discovering efficient cures for influenza illness after a extreme bout of the an infection final yr,” Chebrolu said. “I wish to study extra from 3M scientists to pursue my drug growth and with their assist, wish to conduct in-vitro and in-vivo testing of my lead drug candidate.”
Below the steering of 3M Scientist Dr. Mahfuza Ali, one other lady of colour, Chebrolu was capable of good her concepts by means of the scientific methodology. Chebrolu gained the chance to work with Dr. Ali after being awarded an unique mentorship for being one of many 10 finalists of the problem. “With the assistance of my mentor Dr. Mahfuza Ali, I switched subjects and focused the SARS-CoV-2 virus due to the immense affect it is made on the planet in lower than a yr,” Chebrolu said in an interview with Judy Shaw, of the New York Inventory Change.
Chebrolu’s drive and potential for locating a treatment impressed not solely Dr. Ali, who known as her enthusiasm and tenacity “wonderful,” but additionally Dr. Cindy Moss, a choose for the problem. Chebrolu stated she was impressed to search out potential cures to viruses after studying concerning the 1918 flu pandemic and discovering out how many individuals die yearly in the USA regardless of annual vaccinations and anti-influenza medicine available on the market.
“Anika has an inquisitive thoughts and used her curiosity to ask questions on a vaccine for COVID-19,” Moss advised CNN. “Her work was complete and examined quite a few databases. She additionally developed an understanding of the innovation course of and is a masterful communicator. Her willingness to make use of her time and expertise to assist make the world a greater place provides us all hope.”
Upon successful the award, the younger scientist advised CNN that her analysis and found methodology “displays [the] collective hopes to finish this pandemic” as people like herself hope to return to their regular lives and that whereas successful this award is an honor, her work will not be carried out. Chebrolu shared that her subsequent purpose is to work alongside scientists and researchers to “management the morbidity and mortality” of the pandemic by growing her findings into an precise treatment for the virus. “My effort to discover a lead compound to bind to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus this summer time could seem like a drop within the ocean, however nonetheless provides to all these efforts,” she stated. “How I develop this molecule additional with the assistance of virologists and drug growth specialists will decide the success of those efforts.”
When requested concerning the reward cash and what she plans to do with it, Chebrolu said that she is going to contribute a few of it towards a nonprofit she created known as “Academy Support,” which helps different younger college students pursue STEM analysis. The remainder of the cash, she defined, could be used to proceed her analysis in creating an efficient anti-viral drug.
However after all, whereas enthusiastic about science Chebrolu does discover time to reside a “regular” life like different teenagers. The 14-year-old additionally partakes in classical Indian dance and different types of artwork. As a task mannequin locally, Chebrolu’s achievement will not be solely making headlines however is being added to the record of profitable South Asians brown dad and mom love to check their kids to. Her discovery and success is a win for not solely Indian People however different minorities who’re working to dismantle the mannequin minority delusion along with representation of youth in science.
As of this report, the coronavirus has killed more than 1.1 million individuals worldwide. Within the U.S. alone there have been over 8.2 million circumstances of COVID-19 and no less than 220,000 deaths in consequence, in keeping with The New York Times database.