14-Year-Old Wins $25,000 Prize For Developing Potential Coronavirus Treatment
A 14-year-old American girl has been awarded a $25,000 (£19,300) prize for devising a treatment that could eventually have the potential to treat Covid-19. Seriously, this is some incredibly impressive science from someone so young.
Anika Chebrolu from Frisco won the 3M Young Scientist Challenge for the work she did creating a molecule that could completely dull the effectiveness of the virus that has brought the whole world to an almost complete standstill this year.
If it works, it could - in theory - revolutionise the attitudes to the virus that has claimed the lives of more than one million people around the globe.
Talking to local media outlet KTVT, the teenage genius said: "It's exciting. I'm still trying to process everything.
"I developed this molecule that can bind to a certain protein on the SARS-CoV-2 virus. By binding to it, it will stop the function of the protein."
When most of us were 14 we were playing video games and trying to get served in the local off-licence, never mind isolating proteins that could potentially aid the fight against a deadly virus.
In the times before the pandemic, the prodigiously intelligent schoolgirl had been attempting to create a drug that could help fight seasonal flu - another big fight to pick - but once the coronavirus hit she decided to turn her considerable intellect to the challenge at hand.
Using computer technology, she identified exactly where the molecule would have to bind to the virus, and what effects that would have.
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Behind all of this amazing work was the inspiration that she received from her grandfather, as well as seeing the devastating effect that the virus has had on the entire world.
She explained: "My grandpa, when I was younger, he always used to push me toward science. He was actually a chemistry professor, and he used to always tell me learn the periodic table of the elements and learn all these things about science, and over time, I just grew to love it."
Well, he can be very proud right now, that's for sure.
The 3M Young Scientist Challenge is a competition that is put on for middle school children in the USA by the Discovery Channel, as well as multinational science and technology conglomerate 3M.
As well as the money, Chebrolu earned the title of 'America's Top Young Scientist'.
Denise Rutherford, senior vice president of Corporate Affairs at 3M, said: "Amidst the challenges of a global pandemic, quality STEM education for all has become an even more urgent need, and 3M's commitment to fostering the next generation of science leaders has never been more determined.
"In spite of challenges, like adjusting to new norms of distance learning and participating in virtual events, this year's 3M Young Scientist Challenge finalists have smashed through barriers with grit, creativity, innovative thinking, and excitement - all in the name of applying science to improve lives.
"3M is inspired by these young innovators and we celebrate each one of them. Our heartfelt congratulations go to this year's winner, Anika Chebrolu, and our many thanks to all our 3M Young Scientist Challenge finalists."
Featured Image Credit: 3M