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US teenager wins prize for a discovery potentially leading to COVID-19 cure

Washington: A U.S. teenager from Texas has won the 2020 3M Young Scientist Challenge and a 25,000-U.S.-dollar-prize for a discovery that could provide a potential therapy to COVID-19.

The winning invention of Anika Chebrolu, a 14-year-old girl, uses in-silico methodology to discover a lead molecule that can selectively bind to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Anika said she was inspired to find potential cures to viruses after learning about the 1918 flu pandemic and finding out how many people die every year in the United States despite annual vaccinations and anti-influenza drugs on the market.

She said her next goal is to work alongside scientists and researchers who are fighting to control the morbidity and mortality of the COVID-19 pandemic by developing her findings into an actual cure for the virus.

“My effort to find a lead compound to bind to the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus this summer may appear to be a drop in the ocean, but still adds to all these efforts,” she was quoted as saying by CNN on Monday.

“How I develop this molecule further with the help of virologists and drug development specialists will determine the success of these efforts,” she said.

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