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Greenwich High Sophomore's Zika Project Earns Awards At Intel Science Fair

Greenwich High School junior Rahul Subramaniam Photo Credit: Contributed
From left: Augustina Stefani, Luca Barceló, Connor Li, GHS Science Research Teacher/Adviser Andrew Bramante, Rahul Subramaniam, Shobhita Sundaram, and Michelle Xiong (Not pictured: Ethan Novek). Photo Credit: Contributed

GREENWICH, Conn. – A Greenwich High School sophomore earned three top awards for his groundbreaking project about Zika detection at the 2017 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair on Friday.

Rahul Subramaniam's project was called an Early Warning System for Zika Virus in Mosquito Populations Based on Real-Time Field Detection of Viral RNA in Mosquito Saliva.

For the project, Rahul created an inexpensive and consumer-friendly mosquito trap with a food-source that would change color in 30 minutes if any of the feeding mosquitoes were infected with Zika.

Rahul is the first researcher known to have detected mosquito saliva in a live trap. This enabled him to detect Zika virus in that saliva in a field trap, which can be used as the initial basis for quarantine of an area that contains Zika-infected mosquitoes, before anyone gets infected. 

He received first place in the Microbiology category, a $3,000 award, and Best in Category, a $5,000 award as he competed with 1,800 students from around the world at the fair.

In addition, Rahul was one of the Best in Category winners who received a Grand Award. He won the Intel Indo-US Science & Technology Visit to India Award, a two-week, all-expense paid trip to India to attend a science and technology immersion program.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition. Each year, 1,800 high school students from more than 75 countries, regions, and territories are awarded the opportunity to showcase their independent research and compete for $4 million in prizes. 

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