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TESTIMONIAL. “At 14, I succeeded in isolating the molecule that could defeat the coronavirus”

She is 14 years old, but the results of her research would make even the most seasoned of researchers pale. Passionate about science thanks to her grandfather, a chemistry professor who encouraged her to learn the periodic table of chemical elements, the American Anika Chebrolu was named “Best young scientist of the year” by the jury of the prestigious Young Scientist 3M Challenge in the United States, thus winning a scholarship of $ 25,000 (approximately € 21,100). It all started in 2019, when she decided, after discussion with her teachers, to participate in the scientific competition.

“Initially, my research was on the flu,” comments the young prodigy, who wonders how to eradicate this seasonal virus which kills massively each year. Then came Sars-CoV-2. “Due to the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic and the damage caused to the world in such a short period of time, I have decided to change targets by tackling the Covid-19 virus.” Its objective is to verify whether this coronavirus can be weakened or deactivated by an external molecule.

The jury is impressed, as if she had already graduated, with ten years older

To do this, the budding researcher sifts through nearly 700 million chemical components using the in silico method, “in silica”, denoting research carried out by means of complex computer calculations. Bingo! By dint of making combinations, it isolates a protein which, by clinging to the virus molecule, cancels its viral action.

Full of humility, the teenager presents the results of her research in a brilliant presentation to the jury of the Young Scientist 3M Challenge. A jury impressed by her perfect mastery of the widely documented subject, as if she had already graduated, with ten years older.

“His work is exhaustive and is based on numerous databases”

“Anika has asked a lot of questions about the vaccine against the Covid-19, congratulated Cindy Moss, one of the judges of the competition. Her work is exhaustive and is based on numerous databases. Her determination using your time and talent to make a better world gives us all hope. ” However, the work of our young researcher is not finished. The next step is to work with specialists in coronavirus mortality and morbidity.

In the hope of finding a cure for this coronavirus which has already killed nearly 1,500,000 people around the world. When asked where she sees herself later, the gifted responds unsurprisingly that she would like to do medical research, “but in the meantime I’m a normal teenager,” she says. Indeed, what she likes is going out with her friends, drawing and taking Indian dance lessons. Certainly, value does not wait for the number of years.

Anika Chebrolu © © INSTAGRAM

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