Anika Chebrolu Named America’s Top Young Scientist

Anika+Chebrolu+Named+America%27s+Top+Young+Scientist

Kailani Vera, Staff Writer

In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic with no immediate solution in sight, many bright minds from around the world have taken a stand for the creation of a vaccine.

One teenager in particular, 14 year old Anika Chebrolu, currently holds the title for “America’s Top Young Scientist” of 2020 after winning the 3M Young Scientist Challenge. The challenge asked students from 5th-9th grade to develop a virtual solution to an issue that people face on a daily basis. Chebrolu, hailing from Frisco, Texas, has emerged as a strong contender for the study and development for medical treatment against Coronavirus. Her project detailed extensive research on the use of therapeutic drugs as a means for mediating the virus within the human body, and mainly focused on preventing the virus’ ability to latch onto human cells.

In an interview with the Dallas Morning News, Chebrolu mentioned that her project had not initially began as a study on the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Her interest piqued as she learned about the 1918 Influenza pandemic outbreak and its historical relation to drug discovery. From here, she began studying in-silico methodology. In-silico methodology allows scientists to analyze potential medical cures by deriving conclusions from quickly screened compounds through the use of the computer. As she studied the Spanish flu, she realized that her research could be applied to the current pandemic.

As a result, she uncovered a molecule that could potentially prevent coronavirus from binding onto a spike protein, thus hindering the ability for coronavirus to infect the human body. Her discovery of potential preventative methods by the use of occupational therapy is an impressive accomplishment, and is a step forward for the scientific community. When questioned about the the future of the pandemic, Chebrolu commented that regardless of promising developments,  “I hope that people continue to take the necessary precautions for the pandemic and make sure to get vaccinations.”