VIJAYAWADA: Anika Chebrolu, a 14-year-old Indian-American from Guntur, on Monday won the 2020 3M young scientist challenge for developing a potential treatment process for Covid-19.
Anika won the $25,000 award for her research on protein spikes in the novel coronavirus. 3M, an MNC, announced Anika’s achievement on the competition website www.youngscientistlab.com. Apart from Anika, three other Telugus — Samhita Pokkunuri, Harsha Pillarisetti and Samvrit Rao – also left their mark in the competition.
Describing Anika’s achievement, the website said: “Anika used in-silico methodology for drug discovery to find a molecule that can selectively bind to the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 virus to find a cure for Covid-19.”
Interestingly, Anika was hoping to find a cure for influenza and ended up discovering the anti-viral drug for the pandemic. “After spending so much time researching about pandemics, viruses and drug discovery, it was crazy to think that I was living through something like this,” she was quoted as saying to the young scientist website.
An eighth grade student at Nelson Middle School in Texas, Anika’s aim is to become a medical researcher and professor. Speaking to a TV channel in the US, Anika said that she was in awe of science experiments since her childhood and had been drawn towards the discovery of cures for influenza after undergoing a spell of infection in 2019.
Samhita, another challenger, reached the finals for designing and programming multiple robots to mimic swarm intelligence to be used to accomplish complex tasks and collect data and information in the aid of healthcare, agriculture, construction, security and military operations.
While 13-year-old Harsha identified an alternative, low-cost approach to reducing indoor air pollution using leaf-like structures inside the home. Samvrit Rao, who also made it to the finals, developed BOREAS, an affordable telemedicine-based solution, which captures and relays breath sounds along with symptomatic data to physicians.

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